Covid-19: WHO estimates vaccines have saved at least half a million lives in Europe

According to a study carried out by the WHO, at least 39,000 lives have been saved in France among the over 60s thanks to vaccination. The WHO also warns that Europe could register 700,000 additional deaths by the spring.

At least half a million lives have already been saved by anti-Covid vaccines in Europe, according to a report released Thursday by the European branch of the World Health Organization.

According to the study, counting only the over 60s in some thirty European countries with some 460 million inhabitants, 470,000 lives have been saved since the start of the vaccination campaign. 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.

“The number of deaths would have been double without the vaccines”

“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 vaccines,” said Hans Kluge.

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.

700,000 more deaths by spring

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”, insisted Hans Kluge.

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, 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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