WHO Blasts Europe's Slow Vaccine Rollout, As France Sees New Lockdown
The WHO on Thursday slammed Europe's "unacceptably slow" vaccine rollout, warning of a worrying surge in cases as France became the latest country to impose new restrictions to combat mounting infections
Copenhagen, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 1st Apr, 2021 ) :The WHO on Thursday slammed Europe's "unacceptably slow" vaccine rollout, warning of a worrying surge in cases as France became the latest country to impose new restrictions to combat mounting infections.
As European nations scrambled to contain third waves across the continent, Brazil marked a grim milestone with more than 66,000 deaths in March -- by far the highest since the beginning of the pandemic.
On the vaccine front there was a glimmer of hope as Pfizer/BioNTech said their jab was highly effective against the South African variant, and Israel vowed to inoculate children after promising trial data among youngsters.
Governments are hoping vaccines will be the route to a return to normal more than a year into the pandemic that has now killed more than 2.8 million people and subjected much of humanity to punishing restrictions.
"We must speed up the process by ramping up manufacturing, reducing barriers to administering vaccines, and using every single vial we have in stock." - Vaccine hesitancy - The EU has blamed supply problems on its sluggish rollout, but several nations are also facing high rates of vaccine hesitancy, even in the face of rising infections.
Italy has fallen dramatically short of its vaccine targets after receiving almost 30 percent fewer doses than expected, data showed Thursday.
Only 10 percent of Europe's total population have received one vaccine dose, and four percent have received two, WHO said.
It is using jabs from Pfizer/BioNTech, which on Thursday released promising new data showing it was highly effective against the South African variant of the virus that has ravaged that country.
No cases of the disease were observed in South Africa during a phase-three trial study among participants who had received a second dose, the companies said.
- 'Precious weeks of liberty' But as some nations looked to a post-pandemic reality, others were mired in fresh anti-virus measures.
"We gained precious weeks of liberty," he said in a national address late Wednesday, but the current measures "were too limited at a time when the epidemic is accelerating".
Schools will close for three or four weeks depending on age level, and alcoholic drinks will be prohibited in parks and other outdoor public spaces.
For some parents, the new rules were unwelcome -- but deemed essential.
"It was absolutely necessary to close the schools, even if it will be complicated for parents, and especially young children, to manage this situation," said Laure, a 44-year-old researcher with two young boys in Paris.
- 'A lot of them die' - In hard-hit Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro has been rocked by a political crisis over his handling of the pandemic, death rates last month hit an alarming high.
"It's caught us by surprise. Our patients now tend to be young, with no pre-existing conditions. The disease hits them hard and a lot of them die," said 53-year-old surgeon Marise Gomes.
She said she has been frustrated to see many of her compatriots ignore face masks and social distancing guidelines and even flood to underground parties.
"I see no difference in people's behaviour. People don't seem to understand the magnitude of this," she said.
"I am really excited but also feeling a bit sentimental because it's been a long, long time since I last went abroad," tourist Andy Yang told AFP.