The European office of the World Health Organization (WHO) today called compulsory vaccination against COVID-19 a “last resort” and urged to exhaust other measures sooner.
“The vaccine obligation is an absolute last resort and only applicable when all viable options to improve vaccination rates have been exhausted.“, said at a press conference the director of WHO-Europe, Hans Kluge.
Kluge made a call to “stabilize” the pandemic crisis, for which it is necessary to promote vaccination, including the booster dose, and measures such as the use of masks and indoor ventilation or increase the number of tests and adopt rigorous protocols to severe cases of coronavirus.
The new omicron variant is increasing and the right thing to do is to be “worried” and to be “prudent,” said Kluge, who stressed the need to wait for more data because it is “too soon” and to keep a “cool” head.
“The problem now is delta and any success against delta today is a gain over omicron for tomorrow,” Kluge said, insisting that it is about stabilizing the pandemic and that this does not affect a single variant, but “all at once”.
The WHO also urged creating safe environments for children in schools to avoid the closure of centers and distance education, since the incidence of new cases in children aged 5 to 11 years is two or three times higher than in other groups of ages.
For this reason, he considers that the use of masks, ventilation and regular tests should be “standard” in all primary schools and the vaccination of children should be “discussed and considered” at the national level.
“Vaccinating the youngest children not only reduces their role in the transmission of COVID-19, but also protects them from severe cases associated with long-term COVID or with multisystem inflammatory syndromes, “Kluge said.
WHO-Europe noted that since their last appearance a month ago, 120,000 more people have died from coronavirus and the region, made up of 53 countries in Europe and Central Asia, has reached 10 million cases: at the end of this week, one out of every ten people in it will have been infected with the virus.
The cumulative death toll from coronavirus exceeded one and a half million two weeks ago and the death toll has reached “a high plateau”, with about 4,100 deaths per day (double the number at the end of September), although “significantly” below previous peaks, which the WHO explains by vaccination.