The director of the WHO in Europe said that the new, more contagious variants, mainly the delta, have changed the situation.
The director of the WHO in Europe was more pessimistic on Friday about the fact that a high vaccination rate will stop the covid-19 pandemic by itself, because the variants have reduced the prospect of herd immunity.
The probability that the disease remains endemic is increasing. That is why Hans Kluge exhorted at a press conference to “plan to adapt our vaccination strategies”, especially with regard to additional doses.
In May, Kluge said that “the pandemic will end when we have reached a minimum vaccination coverage of 70%” of the world’s population.
When asked if he kept what was said, Kluge replied that the new, more contagious variants, mainly the delta, have changed the situation.
Before, although this variant initially detected in India already existed, “there was no such emergence of more transmissible and more viral variants,” he explained.
“This brings us to the point that the essential objective of vaccination is above all to avoid serious forms of the disease and mortality,” he stressed.
“If we consider that the covid will continue to mutate and continue among us, like the flu, then we must plan how to progressively adapt our vaccination strategy to endemic transmission, and gain valuable knowledge about the impact of additional doses,” he added.
According to epidemiologists, it seems unrealistic to achieve herd immunity with vaccines alone, but vaccines are vital to curbing the pandemic.
Vaccination also remains essential “to reduce the pressure on our health systems that desperately need to treat other diseases in addition to covid,” Kluge insisted.
It is estimated that the currently dominant delta variant is 60% more contagious than the previous one (alpha) and twice as much as the historical virus. And the more contagious a virus is, the higher the rate of people who have to be immunized to achieve herd immunity and stop the epidemic. Immunity is achieved through vaccines or by contracting the virus. (I)