GENEVA.- The highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 reduced the effectiveness of vaccines against the disease by 40 percent, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization (WHO), urging that people to continue wearing face masks and respect distancing measures.
“Vaccines save lives, but they do not totally prevent the transmission of Covid-19,” explained Tedros, as the pandemic is wreaking havoc in Europe.
Last week, global cases rose 6 percent from the previous seven days, to reach a total of 3.6 million, of which two-thirds (2.4 million) were registered in Europe, the current epicenter of the pandemic, according to the data. published by WHO.
“There is data that suggests that before the arrival of the Delta variant, vaccines reduced the transmission of the virus by 60 percent but, with its appearance, they fell to 40 percent,” he said.
“We fear there is a misconception that vaccines have ended the pandemic, and that vaccinated people no longer need to take further precautions,” he added.
The WHO expert committee for the analysis of vaccines against COVID affirmed that the vaccination of children and adolescents can help in the fight against the pandemic, but is “less urgent” than the immunization of other risk groups.
Since children and adolescents are at a lower risk of severe COVID-19, countries should prioritize sharing vaccine doses with the Covax program to bring urgently needed supplies to the poorest countries, said the WHO.
For its part, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control warned of a “very high risk” for COVID in the coming weeks and advised administering the booster vaccine to all adults and, as a priority, to those over 40 years.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he received an experimental nasal spray vaccine against the coronavirus three days after receiving his booster injection. Russia faces the highest spike in contagion and deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Putin received the locally made Sputnik V vaccine in the middle of the year. On Sunday he said that he received a booster dose of Sputnik Light and that he wanted to participate in the tests of Sputnik V in its nasal version.
Denis Logunov, deputy director of the Gamaleya Center, which has state funding and created Sputnik V, told Putin that the nasal vaccine is in the testing stage and is being studied “as always, with the staff members, supervising.”