The director of the World Health Organization (WHO) office for Europe, Hans Kluge, said on Tuesday that mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 should not be the priority for countries trying to reduce the contagion.
“The obligation on the vaccine is a last resort, and only applicable when all viable options to improve vaccination rates have been exhausted,” the regional representative of the agency said at a press conference.
Kluge called for “stabilized” the crisis, saying it was necessary to push for vaccinations and measures such as mask use, indoor ventilation and mass testing, while saying he was “cautious and concerned” about the omicron variant. of the new coronavirus.
“The problem now is delta, and any success against delta today is a gain over omicron for tomorrow,” explained the director of WHO-Europe.
According to Kluge, the variant discovered two weeks ago has been growing and it’s okay to be “concerned and cautious”, however, more data is still needed, which made him ask for a “cool head”.
The WHO representative also called for safe environments to be created for children in schools, to prevent the closing of educational institutions and the return of remote classes.
Kluge recalled that, currently, the incidence of new cases in children aged five to 11 years is three times higher than in other age groups.
Therefore, he considers that the use of masks, ventilation of the environments and regular tests should be “standards” in all primary schools, and the vaccination of children should be “discussed and considered” by countries.
“The vaccination of younger children not only reduces their role in the transmission of Covid-19, it also protects them from severe cases associated with long-term Covid-19 or with multi-system inflammatory syndromes,” said the director of WHO Europe.
Kluge indicated that since the last press conference a month ago, 120,000 people had died from infection with the new coronavirus on the continent and in Central Asia, areas covered by the agency’s regional office.
If it reached a “high plateau”, with about 4,100 deaths a day, lamented the director, who added that the number is “significantly” lower than in other Covid-19 waves, precisely because of the vaccination.
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