The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday warned that there could be another 236,000 Covid-19 deaths in Europe by the first of December after high levels of virus transmission continue to be noted on the continent.
Citing stagnating vaccination rates, along with a lesser rate of inoculations in poorer nations, the director of WHO Europe had dire predictions for the next three months.
“Last week, there was an 11 percent increase in the number of deaths in the region –- one reliable projection is expecting 236,000 deaths in Europe, by December 1,” director Hans Kluge told reporters on Monday.
So far, Europe has suffered approximately 1.3 million Covid 19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic; worldwide there have been a total of 4.5 million deaths out of a total of 216 million cases.
Thirty three of the WHO Europe’s 53 member states have experienced an incidence rate over 10 percent in the past two weeks, according to Kluge.
As seen in Greece, where the country had a record 4,806 cases on August 24, the virus has spiked over the summer as people have traveled to other countries and domestically and the Delta variant surges throughout the world.
The current transmission rates across Europe were “deeply worrying, particularly in the light of low vaccination uptake in priority populations in a number of countries,” Kluge stated today.
The official said that the recent spikes seen across the continent were due to the more transmissible Delta variant, along with what he termed an “exaggerated easing” of Covid-19 restrictions and measures, and an upswing in travel this Summer.
Covid-19 deaths loom as vaccination rate slows in Europe
At the end of August, approximately half of Europe is fully vaccinated, but the rate of inoculations has now slowed, Kluge explained, saying “In the past six weeks, it has fallen by 14 percent, influenced by a lack of access to vaccines in some countries and a lack of vaccine acceptance in others.”
According to the latest data, 55 percent of Greek adults have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. In the United States 51 percent have been fully vaccinated, in Germany 60 percent and in the UK 62 percent. The European Union average is 57 percent.
A paltry six percent of people in lower and lower-middle income countries on the continent are now fully vaccinated, however, while some nations have only managed to vaccinate ten percent of their health care workers.
“The stagnation in vaccine uptake in our region is of serious concern,” Kluge warned, urging European countries to “increase production, share doses, and improve access.”
With nations such as Israel experiencing spikes in cases, it appears that the much more virulent Delta variant of Covid-19 is making it even more apparent that people must have a third, or booster, shot in order to fight off any possible infections.
Israel, which was justifiably proud of its extremely effective vaccine rollout this year, is now experiencing high coronavirus infection rates, or breakthroughs, in those who have been vaccinated, leading to questions about vaccine immunity.
With more than half, or 59 percent, of 514 patients who were hospitalized with Covid on August 15 being fully vaccinated, this begs the question that perhaps the vaccines do not have the staying power that they were thought to have.
Even though the vast majority of those hospitalized were over 60, the infections came as a very unwelcome surprise in a country that prided itself on inoculating more than half of its entire population by March of 2021.
As Newsweek reports this week, Israel now has one of the worst rates of the coronavirus per million in the entire world, according to information from OurWorldInData as of August 24.
Although no vaccine has ever been 100% effective, and the vaccines on the market in the Western world are extraordinarily effective, at around 95%- 98%, Pfizer and other manufacturers had already stated that they believed booster shots would be needed after six months from the time of first vaccination.
Data presented on July 28 by Pfizer indicates that a third booster shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine may significantly increase protection against the Delta variant of Covid.
The data showed that antibodies in those ages ages 18 to 55 increase by five times after getting a third dose of the vaccine.
The increase is even greater for older people ages 65 to 85, with eleven times as many antibodies in seniors who received a third shot.