Coronavirus: at least half a million lives saved by vaccines in Europe

This estimate is conservative because it does not take into account the number of lives saved among those under 60, nor because of a reduction in transmission.

The study, carried out using data collected in more than half of the 53 countries in the WHO European region, estimates that nearly 160,000 lives have been saved in England and around 39,000 in France.

Data are not available for twenty countries in the area, including Russia, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.

“What this study shows is that (the vaccines) do what they promise, which is to save lives, offering very high protection against severe forms and death. ”Said the institution’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, urging countries to continue their immunization campaigns.

“In some countries, the number of deaths would have been double what it is today without the vaccines,” Kluge said.

In the European Union, 67.7% of the population has received two doses of the vaccine but the differences are staggering between countries. Thus, only 25% of Bulgarians are vaccinated against 86.7% of Portuguese.

In total, since the start of the pandemic, more than 1.5 million people have died from Covid in the region, 90% of whom were over 60 years old. Vaccines must be accompanied by a series of preventive measures to keep transmission levels low and keep society open, ”Mr. Kluge insisted.

On Tuesday, the WHO warned of the risk of suffering an additional 700,000 deaths in Europe by the spring. She called for a “vaccine plus” approach to be adopted, combining vaccination, wearing a mask, hygiene measures and distancing.

The WHO warned on Wednesday that the highly contagious Delta variant reduced the effectiveness of vaccines against the transmission of the disease to 40%.

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