WHO criticizes slow vaccination in Europe | International news and analysis | DW

The World Health Organization (WHO) criticized this Thursday (01/04) the slowness of the vaccination campaign against covid-19 in Europe and said that the increase in the number of coronavirus infections in the continent is “worrying”.

“Vaccines are our best way out of this pandemic. However, vaccination is unacceptably slow,” said WHO director for Europe Hans Kluge in a statement, stressing that the delay is “prolonging the pandemic”.

So far, about 10% of Europe’s population has received one dose of covid-19 vaccines and only 4% two doses. Vaccination is even slower in the 27 member states of the European Union, where only about 5.6% of the population received the first dose. In the United Kingdom, which is no longer part of the bloc, the rate is 46%.

“We must speed up the process, increasing manufacturing, reducing barriers to vaccine application and now using all the vials we have in stock now,” added Kluge.

For WHO, the coronavirus situation in Europe is “the most worrying in several months”. Therefore, it is necessary to implement restrictive measures to contain the rapid spread of the virus.

“While coverage [de vacinas] remain low, we need to apply the same social and public health measures that we have applied in the past, to make up for delays in schedules, ” Kluge said.

The WHO Europe region comprises 53 countries and territories, including Russia and Central Asian nations. According to the statement, five weeks ago, the weekly number of new cases in the region was less than one million. However, last week, the continent saw a significant increase in transmission in most countries, reaching 1.6 million new infections.

The WHO points out that the total number of deaths in Europe “is rapidly approaching one million and the total number of cases is about to exceed 45 million”.

The organization warned that the rapid spread of the virus could increase the risk of new variants.

“The likelihood of new worrying variants occurring increases as the virus replicates and spreads. Therefore, reducing transmission through basic disease control actions is crucial,” said Dorit Nitzan, WHO’s regional emergency director for Europe in a statement.

Restrictions must continue

Currently, 27 European countries apply restrictions, 21 of which impose curfews. In the past two weeks, 23 states have tightened measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, while 13 have eased restrictions.

For Kluge, this is no time to relax. “We cannot ignore the danger. We all have to make sacrifices, we cannot let exhaustion defeat us. We must continue to contain the virus,” he said.

Part of the slow pace of vaccination in Europe is due to the fact that the European Union has concentrated large bets on the AstraZeneca vaccine. The company said earlier this year that it will be able to deliver far fewer doses than originally planned.

In addition, fears that the immunizer may cause thrombosis have restricted and even paralyzed the use of the vaccine in several countries. Germany, for example, decided on Tuesday that only people over 60 should receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. The decision was motivated by suspected cases of cerebral venous thrombosis, especially in young women, after vaccination. This was the second time in a month that the use of the immunizer was questioned.

In mid-March, application of the vaccine was suspended in several European countries. Some governments ended up resuming vaccinations after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) reinforced the classification of AstraZeneca’s immunizer as safe and recommended its use.

le (afp, ap, efe, lusa)

  • The main vaccines against covid-19

    Pfizer-BioNtech (BNT162b2)

    Developed by the German BioNtech and produced by the American Pfizer, it is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine. Its principle is to make the body itself produce the protein from the virus. After the material is injected into the human body, it instructs the body to produce the protein, encouraging the manufacture of antibodies against Sars-Cov-2. The product requires the application of two doses.

  • AstraZeneca vaccine vial

    The main vaccines against covid-19

    AstraZeneca (AZD1222 ou ChAdOx1 nCoV-19)

    The technology used is called a recombinant viral vector, which uses an adenovirus that is incapable of causing disease. In the human body, the vaccine encourages the production of the coronavirus protein, which the immune system recognizes as a threat and destroys. When Sars-Cov-2 actually infects the organism, the body recognizes and fights the virus. Two doses are required.

  • Modern vaccine ampoule

    The main vaccines against covid-19

    Modern (mRNA-1273)

    It also uses messenger RNA technology, which mimics the spike protein, specific to the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which aids in the invasion of human cells. The copy is not harmful like the virus, but it triggers a reaction by the cells of the immune system. It must also be applied in two doses. Like all vaccines against covid-19, it is given as an intramuscular injection.

  • Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine ampoule

    The main vaccines against covid-19

    Janssen, da Johnson&Johnson (Ad26.COV2-S)

    The product of the pharmaceutical company Janssen requires the application of only one dose. Its technology is based on vectors of a type of virus that causes a common cold. In the vaccine, part of the virus spike protein is placed in the adenovirus (which is the transporter). In the vaccinated body, a defense process begins, with the production of antibodies against the invader and the creation of a “memory” against the virus.

  • Vacuum ampoule Sputnik V

    The main vaccines against covid-19

    Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac)

    From the Russian laboratory Gamaleya, it is a viral vector vaccine, which uses other viruses manipulated to be harmless to the organism, but can induce the fight against covid-19. Injected into the body, they enter cells and make them produce and display this protein. This alerts and activates the immune system. Sputnik uses different adenoviruses in the first and second doses to boost the immune response.

  • SinoVac vaccine ampoule

    The main vaccines against covid-19

    SinoVac (CoronaVac)

    Chinese vaccine Sinovac’s vaccine is manufactured in Brazil by the Butantan Institute. Its technology is based on laboratory manipulation of human cells infected with Sars-Cov-2. The vaccine is produced with inactivated fragments of the virus, that is, it cannot reproduce. After receiving the dose, the immune system starts to produce antibodies to fight Sars-Cov-2.

    Authoria: Roselaine Wandscheer

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