WHO official says just 54% of Europe is fully vaccinated


As the delta variant continues to infect people as winter approaches, the number of vaccinated people is not rising in tandem with the winter surge. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) official who works with its European branch, only 54 percent of people, who live in the European region, are fully vaccinated.

On Wednesday, Robb Butler, who is the executive director of the WHO in Europe, told CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box Europe’ that they had “only got 54 percent of the 1 billion people living in Europe fully vaccinated.” He also said that there were around 45 percent who were unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated. The official also said that driving up vaccination rates was a bigger issue for their policy and decision makers at this period of time.

Butler said that the WHO did not take any position on countries who had mandated vaccines to combat the spread of COVID-19. He called mandates a “very delicate issue.” He also described it as a “last-resort measure.”

The European branch of the WHO comprises of 53 countries in Europe and Central Asia. The bloc of countries that make up the European Union (EU) have a higher fully vaccinated rate which stands at 65 percent.

Earlier on Tuesday, WHO Europe had said that the recent spike in cases could lead to 700,000 additional deaths in the region. It also said that the region has recorded 1.5 million deaths, so far. Both Europe and Central Asia list Covid as the foremost cause of death in the region.

Following the release of these statistics, the EU reversed its earlier policy and said that all adults would be considered to be eligible for booster shots.

Germany, Spain and Austria have begun to add restrictions and will consider lockdowns, if and when necessary. Wearing masks, maintaining social distance and following hygiene rules will be implemented in a stricter manner.

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