What the new covid surge means in Europe — and what it lacks

“We need a combination of measures,” said Spector, who runs the ZOE Covid study at King’s College London. “How high we want those rates to be is determined by our satisfaction and our relaxation of some of the rules we set that last year I think are more high, and now I think this year is not igo. “

Despite this, vaccination rates are the most important factor explaining the difference between countries like Croatia and Italy.

Many Eastern European countries have lower vaccination rates than some of their neighbors: Croatia is at 46% fully vaccinated, for example, while Slovakia is at 43%. (The average in Europe is almost 56%.) Unvaccinated people are driving the rise in numbers, as Austrian chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said when announcing his country’s new lockout: “The [daily infection] The rate for the unvaccinated is at over 1,700, while for the vaccinated it is at 383.

The higher the vaccination rate, the less serious the result of illness and death — even if transmission is high. In the UK 80% of people over 12 have two doses of the covid vaccine, for example.

“The countries that are best are the ones with high vaccine coverage and effective measures,” Salathé said. “The worst countries are left. Most are in the middle.”

But even if the vaccination rate is high and the pressure in cases is relatively low, it may not be enough for long-term protection — especially given the effectiveness of vaccines over time.

“The UK launched an immunization program earlier than most countries, and therefore experienced the impact of reduced immunity earlier,” said Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton. “Growing up here in the UK is clearly having an impact on hospital admissions and new cases in the elderly population.”

That means that continuing to vaccinate people, and enhancing the immune response in people who are vaccinated early in the cycle, remains important.

“When we see uncontrollable explosions, we also see the emergence of new variants of interest and concern, and we really don’t want any new variants to be dominant and have a greater impact. on the effectiveness of our vaccines, ”he said. “Ultimately, the world will not be completely relaxed until much of the world is vaccinated. The combination of vaccine skepticism and lack of access to vaccines is everyone’s problem.”

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