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Health And Family

Vaccines reduce COVID-19 transmission by 40%: WHO

Robin Millard - Agence France-Presse
Vaccines reduce COVID-19 transmission by 40%: WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) representative of Rwanda doctor Kasonde Mwinga receives the first injection of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Masaka Hospital in Kigali, on March 5, 2021.
AFP

GENEVA, Switzerland — Covid vaccines reduce transmission of the dominant Delta variant by about 40 percent, the WHO said Wednesday, warning that people were falling into a false sense of security concerning jabs.

The World Health Organization's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said many vaccinated people were wrongly thinking the jab meant they no longer needed to take any other precautions.

Fully-immunised people must stick with measures to avoid catching the virus and passing it on, Tedros insisted, spelling out how the more contagious Delta meant the vaccines were not as effective against transmission.

"We're concerned about the false sense of security that vaccines have ended the pandemic and people who are vaccinated do not need to take any other precautions," Tedros told reporters.

"Vaccines save lives but they do not fully prevent transmission.

"Data suggests that before the arrival of the Delta variant, vaccines reduced transmission by about 60 percent. With Delta, that has dropped to about 40 percent."

The more transmissible Delta variant is now overwhelmingly dominant around the world, having all but out-competed other strains.

"If you are vaccinated, you have a much lower risk of severe disease and death but you are still at risk of being infected and infecting others," said Tedros.

"We cannot say this clearly enough: even if you are vaccinated, continue to take precautions to prevent becoming infected yourself, and infecting someone else who could die."

That meant wearing a facemask, maintaining distance, avoiding crowds and meeting others outside or only in a well-ventilated indoor space, he said.

Delta dominance

Of 845,000 sequences uploaded to the GISAID global science initiative with specimens collected in the last 60 days, 99.8 percent were Delta, according to the WHO's weekly epidemiological report.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the UN health agency's technical lead on Covid, said the Delta variant itself was evolving and the WHO was trying to track circulation and changes in the virus.

"We're making plans here, looking through future scenarios about how much more this virus will change in terms of transmissibility or if there will be potential future immune escape, which will render some of our counter-measures less effective," she said.

The WHO has long stressed that the currently-available Covid-19 vaccines are primarily aimed at reducing the risk of severe illness, hospitalisation and death, rather than transmission.

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said that while vaccine protection against infection was not as high with Delta as with the variants it has overtaken, the level of prevention it gives against severe disease was "still above 80 percent in the majority of cases".

Social mixing in Europe

Europe's return as the pandemic's epicentre has been blamed on Delta, sluggish vaccine uptake in some nations, colder weather moving people indoors again and the easing of restrictions.

Last week, more than 60 percent of all reported Covid-19 infections and deaths were in Europe, with the sheer number of cases translating into unsustainable pressure on health systems and exhausted health workers, said Tedros.

Europe recorded more than 2.4 million new cases last week — an 11-percent rise on the week before. Infections were up 31 percent in Germany.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said that people in Europe, even in the midst of a major resurgence in cases and huge pressure on health systems, were "back to pre-pandemic levels of social mixing".

"The reality is the virus will continue to transmit intensely in that environment," he said.

COVID-19 VACCINES WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 26, 2021 - 8:06am

Pharma giants Sanofi and GSK said on July 29, 2020, that they have agreed to supply Britain with up to 60 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The agreement covers a vaccine candidate developed by France's Sanofi in partnership with the UK's GSK and is subject to a "final contract."

This thread collects some of the major developments in the search for a vaccine to ease the new coronavirus pandemic. (Main photo by AFP/Joel Saget)

November 26, 2021 - 8:06am

Chile on Thursday announces it would start vaccinating children aged three and up against the coronavirus, after successfully innoculating around 90 percent of its initial target population.

Children under the new rollout will receive the Chinese CoronaVac shot already used for kids aged six to 15, the Public Health Institute says. 

For 16 to 18-year-olds, Chile uses the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. — AFP

November 25, 2021 - 3:09pm

COVID-19 vaccines reduce transmission of the dominant Delta variant by about 40%, the WHO says, warning that people were falling into a false sense of security concerning jabs.

The World Health Organization's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says many vaccinated people were wrongly thinking the jab meant they no longer needed to take any other precautions.

Fully-immunized people must stick with measures to avoid catching the virus and passing it on, Tedros insists, spelling out how the more contagious Delta meant the vaccines were not as effective against transmission. — AFP

November 25, 2021 - 1:23pm

Canada begins mmunizing children aged 5-11 against COVID-19, joining a handful of nations including Israel and the United States in offering shots to this age group.

At Montreal's convention center, a few dozen youngsters were among the first to receive the Pfizer doses authorized since last Friday for this age group.

To help ease their fears of needles, additional measures have been taken such posting stickers of unicorns or hockey players on partitions between nursing stations, longer appointments than for adults, and a dog to pet. — AFP

November 24, 2021 - 5:29pm

Leading Russian doctors on Wednesday invited celebrities and politicians with anti-vaccine views to visit COVID red zones in hospitals and see for themselves the effects of the pandemic.

In an open letter published by state news agency TASS, 11 doctors from several cities wrote to a dozen public figures who expressed anti-vaccine views to hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.

Russia, one of the countries worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, is struggling with widespread opposition to vaccination even though it has developed several homegrown jabs including Sputnik V.

Despite multiple pleas from President Vladimir Putin, only 37% of Russians are fully vaccinated and the country has seen more than 1,000 deaths a day in recent weeks.

In their letter, the doctors told several singers, actors, TV personalities and politicians who had expressed skepticism over vaccinations that they would take the time to show them around COVID treatment centers. — AFP 

November 24, 2021 - 7:14am

The United States is shipping another four million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Vietnam, the White House said Tuesday, bringing the total of US doses donated globally to nearly 270 million.

A senior administration official told AFP that 4,149,990 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are being sent, bringing the total delivered to Vietnam by the United States to 17,589,110 doses. Shipments began Tuesday.

Globally, there have now been 268,472,780 doses sent out to 110 countries, which the official, who asked not to be identified, said "is more than all countries combined have shared." — AFP

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