DUBLIN: The European head of the World Health Organization has expressed doubts about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. Even the WHO is sceptical of vaccines’ ability to halt the COVID pandemic, given that new emerging variants are shattering hopes for herd immunity.
Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, had said in May that a minimum of 70% vaccination coverage would end the pandemic. But the current situation proves that it is not possible. Dr Kluge openly admits that newer and more widespread variants, such as the Delta, have changed the situation.
It is estimated that the Delta variant is 60% more transmittable than the dominant variant Alpha. He added that as the virus’s virulence increases, the goal of gaining herd immunity will be thwarted.
The virus is likely to persist for years, in which case it is important to anticipate how the vaccination strategy will gradually improve, Dr Kluge said.
He said the goal of vaccination has now shifted to reducing more severity and mortality. He said that higher vaccination rates are also needed to reduce the strain on health care systems to treat other diseases as well.
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