At least 80% COVID vaccine coverage is needed to significantly lower risk of ‘imported’ coronavirus variants, WHO says

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Credit: iStock
Credit: iStock

COVID-19 vaccination coverage of at least 80% is needed to significantly lower the risk that “imported” coronavirus cases like those linked to new variants could spawn a cluster or a wider outbreak.

Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, told a news conference that ultimately, “high levels of vaccination coverage are the way out of this pandemic.”

Many rich countries have been moving to vaccinate teenagers and children — who have lower risk of more dangerous cases of COVID-19 than the elderly or people with comorbidities — even as those same countries face pressure to share vaccines with poorer ones that lack them.

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Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, noted the delta variant is spreading in more than 60 countries, and is more transmissible than the alpha variant, which first emerged in Britain.

She cited “worrying trends of increased transmissibility, increased social mixing, relaxing of public health and social measures, and uneven and inequitable vaccine distribution around the world.”

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