Vaccines alone will not be able to break the transmission chain and end the pandemic

While most of the new daily cases reported are among the unvaccinated, breakthrough infections and hospitalisations are being reported in the fully vaccinated too. However, the deaths have predominantly been among the unvaccinated. Even while WHO has called for a moratorium on booster doses till this year-end so vaccines become available to developing countries, its Europe office has endorsed administering booster doses as a “priority” to the most vulnerable populations — based on growing evidence of a decline in protection against infection and mild disease among the fully vaccinated. As evidence has shown, vaccines alone will be insufficient to break the transmission chain. Unfortunately, most western countries focused primarily on increasing vaccination coverage while foregoing simple yet highly effective non-pharmaceutical interventions such as universal mask wearing, physical distancing and improved ventilation in confined spaces. A study, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, predicts 0.9 million more hospitalisations and 0.3 million additional deaths in 19 European countries where people have been neither infected nor vaccinated. WHO predicts 0.7 million more deaths by March 2022 in Europe and central Asia. Compliance with public health measures can indeed avoid needless infections and deaths.

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