BRUSSELS: The WHO’s European director yesterday warned that the Covid-19 pandemic won’t be over until at least 70 per cent of people are vaccinated, while deploring that the vaccine rollout in Europe is still “too slow.”
“The pandemic will be over once we reach 70pc minimum coverage in vaccination,” the World Health Organisation’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said.
Kluge said that one of his main worries was the increased contagiousness of new variants of the novel coronavirus.
“We know for example that the B.1617 (Indian variant) is more transmissible than the B.117 (British variant), which already was more transmissible than the previous strain,” Kluge said.
According to the Belgian doctor, speed is “of essence” in pandemic.
“Even when WHO declared a pandemic, many countries were still waiting, we lost valuable time.”
In the 53 countries and territories that make up the WHO’s European region, 26pc of the population has received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
In the European Union, 36.6pc of the population has received at least one dose, according to one count.