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WHO concerned about ‘science denial’ amid rising Covid cases

Image: WHO

Scepticism is hampering Europe’s Covid-19 vaccination drive, warns World Health Organization official

“Vaccine scepticism and science denial” are holding back European countries’ efforts to fully vaccinate their populations against Covid-19, according to the World Health Organization’s director for the region.

Hans Kluge (pictured) said on 30 August that the current “stagnation” in vaccine uptake in the 53-country region is a “serious concern”.

Public health officials must look closely at what is influencing different groups in society to spurn the vaccines and use what they learn to develop “tailored interventions at the community level” for winning people over, he said.

Kluge added that a “deeply worrying” increase of more than 10 per cent in the Covid case rate in 33 European countries was being driven by the more transmissible Delta variant, the easing of public health measures and summer holidays.

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said on 31 August that 70 per cent of adults in the 27 countries of the EU had been fully vaccinated as of that day.

But only around 6 per cent of people in lower- and lower-middle-income countries in the region—a group that includes Ukraine and Tajikistan—were fully vaccinated, Kluge said.