WHO warns against rapid easing: Pandemic not over

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The World Health Organization (WHO) calls on countries to continue rigorously testing people for the virus after easing Corona protections. “The pandemic is certainly not over,” Kate O’Brien, director of WHO’s Department of Immunization, said Monday in Geneva. New virus variants could continue to develop, she said. Loosenings will lead to new waves of infection, O’Brien said.

Still too few vaccinated

She said that that is not always immediately clear because many countries now test significantly less. She called on governments to carefully relax protective measures while monitoring how death rates evolve. In 20 countries worldwide, less than 10 percent of the population has been vaccinated against the coronavirus. O’Brien said most of those are in Africa after a meeting of the Independent Expert Council, which advises WHO on vaccination issues. He said that’s no longer because of a short supply of vaccines. Countries were working on expanding their vaccination programs, he said. In January, 34 countries still had less than 10 percent of their population vaccinated.

The council is also currently looking at the benefit of a second booster vaccination against coronavirus. Data are not yet sufficient to make a recommendation, it said. Countries should focus primarily on giving essential corona vaccination to as many people as possible before considering a general expansion of booster programs.

  • source: kurier.at/picture: pixabay.com
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