The European branch of the WHO, however, called for strengthening health measures in parallel with vaccine campaigns while the epidemic resumption has killed more than 30,000 people in one week on the old continent.
Thanks to vaccination campaigns in Europe, 470,000 lives have been saved among people over 60, says the WHO in a report released Thursday. “This estimate does not include those under the age of 60 or lives saved by vaccination indirectly through reduced circulation of the virus.», Specifies the international body.
“Vaccines are a wonder of modern science“, Praised Hans Henri P. Kluge, director of the European branch of the WHO. “In some countries, there would have been twice as many deaths without the vaccines“, He assured, study in support. “But vaccines must be accompanied by a series of preventive measures to keep transmission levels low and keep society open“, He pleaded. In detail, the study estimates that nearly 160,000 lives were saved in England and around 39,000 in France.
The authors of the study conducted by the WHO and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (an agency of the European Union) took up the number of deaths recorded among the over 60s in Europe in the first period of the pandemic by comparing it with the number of deaths reported from December 2020 to November 2021 while the vaccination campaigns were deployed.
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Uneven vaccination rates
Vaccination rates in Europe are very high but also vary a lot depending on the country. Portugal leads the rankings with 89% of its population having received at least one dose of the anti-Covid vaccine, followed by Malta (84.3%) and Spain (81.9%) according to the Eurovaccination website . On the other hand, some countries such as Slovakia, Croatia or Poland have rates of around 50%. France, for its part, ranks 9th with nearly 77% of people having received at least one dose and 69% having a complete vaccination schedule.
The highly contagious Delta variant has reduced the effectiveness of vaccines against the transmission of the disease to 40%, the WHO boss stressed on Wednesday, November 24, urging people to continue wearing masks and other barrier gestures. “Vaccines save lives, but they do not completely prevent the transmission of Covid-19”, Explained Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a regular press briefing devoted to the pandemic, which is wreaking havoc in Europe. “There is data to suggest that before the arrival of the Delta variant, vaccines reduced transmission by about 60%; with Delta this dropped to 40%», He underlined.
Since the start of the pandemic, 1.5 million deaths have been recorded in Europe, including more than 90% among people over the age of 60. With the epidemic resumption and the 30,000 deaths recorded in one week, the pandemic could kill 700,000 more on the old continent by the spring, the WHO said earlier this week.