“We need a package of measures,” said Spector, head of the ZOE Covid study at King’s College London. “How high we want these stakes to be is determined by our complacency and our departure from some of the rules we had, which last year I thought were excessive and now this year I find insufficient.”
Despite this, the vaccination rate is the most important factor in explaining the differences between countries such as Croatia and Italy.
In many Eastern European countries, vaccination rates are lower than in some of their neighbors: for example, Croatia is 46% fully vaccinated and Slovakia 43%. (The average for Europe is about 56%.) The number of unvaccinated people is growing, – said Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg, announcing a new quarantine in his country: [daily infection] the figure for the unvaccinated is over 1700, and for the vaccinated – 383 ”.
Where vaccination rates are higher, the result is less serious illness and death, even if transmission rates are high. For example, in the UK, 80% of people over the age of 12 received two doses of the COVID vaccine.
“Countries with high vaccination coverage and effective interventions perform best,” says Salate. “The worst countries are those that have neither one nor the other. Most are in the middle. “
But even with high vaccination rates and relatively low incidence rates, this may not be enough for long-term protection, especially given the decline in vaccine efficacy over time.
“The UK rolled out its vaccination program earlier than most countries and was therefore previously affected by weakened immunity,” says Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton. “Boosters here in the UK are clearly affecting hospitalizations and new cases among older people.”
This means that continuing to vaccinate people and boosting the immune response in people who were vaccinated early in their cycle remain vital.
“Where we see uncontrolled outbreaks, we are also seeing new options of interest and concern emerging, and we really do not want any new options to dominate and have a greater impact on the effectiveness of our vaccines,” he says. “After all, the world cannot completely relax until the vast majority of people are vaccinated. The combination of vaccine hesitancy and lack of access to vaccines is everyone’s problem. ”