The World Health Organization’s Europe director apprised that the highly transmissible COVID-19 variant first spotted in India is “poised to take hold in the region.” Many countries prepare to tone down the restrictions and allow more social gatherings and flying across borders.
During a news briefing on Thursday, WHO’s Dr. Hans Kluge said that the variant, also known as the delta variant, has shown indications of evading some vaccines. He warned that the most vulnerable population, especially those over age 60, remain unprotected.
Over the course of last summer, the cases steadily accelerated in younger age groups and then saw a spike in older age groups, contributing to a mortifying resurgence, he said.
Kluge said that the spike in COVID-19 ultimately led to more lockdowns and deaths in the fall and winter of 2020.
He didn’t oppose the people not to travel but urged them to take necessary measures wisely.
He also called for vaccination and other public health services to be stepped up across the continent, saying even immunization coverage is far from sufficient to protect the region.
A new study from Public Health England showed that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant. It is showed 93% effectiveness against the Alpha variant, the variant first detected in the U.K. The vaccine only provided 33% protection after just one dose.