Ómicron: WHO warns that half of all Europe will be infected in weeks and recommends updating vaccines

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that half of the population in Europe will have been infected with the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the next six to eight weeks.

Dr. Hans Kluge claimed that a “Tsunami” by omicron whip the region from “west to east”. This is in addition to the increase in the delta variant seen since late 2021.

The projection was based on the seven million new cases that were reported in Europe during the first week of 2022.

The specialist cited the prediction of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), based in the city of Seattle, USA, according to which “more than 50% of the region’s population will be infected with omicron in the next six or eight weeks. “

He said European and Central Asian countries remain under “intense pressure” as the virus spreads from Western countries to the Balkans.

“The response of each country must be informed by its epidemiological situation, available resources, vaccination status and socioeconomic context,” he added.

Recent studies suggest that omicron is less likely to cause complications than previous variants of the coronavirus. But the omicron variant is highly contagious and can infect people even if they are fully vaccinated.

“Update” existing vaccines

A medical worker holds up a dose of the Pfizer vaccine
Getty Images

The record number of people becoming infected is putting healthcare systems under severe pressure.

Due to this exponential increase in the number of infections, a WHO technical body assured this Tuesday that the current vaccines against covid-19 may need to be updated.

“The composition of current vaccines against covid-19 may require updates to ensure that they continue to generate the levels of protection recommended by the WHO against infections and diseases,” the WHO said in a statement.

The organization added that in order to achieve these levels of protection, vaccines should generate “immune responses that are broad, strong, and long-lasting in order to reduce the need for additional successive doses ”.

The WHO also agreed with what other epidemiological experts have said, as professor Andrew Pollard (who helped develop the Oxford-AstraZeneca covid vaccine), on the lack of sustainability of having to continue vaccinating the world’s population with additional doses against the virus.

“A vaccination strategy based on repeated additional doses of the original composition of the vaccine is surely neither appropriate nor sustainable,” said the international body.

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