Europe has seen a more than 50 percent jump in coronavirus cases in the last month, making it the epicenter of the pandemic despite an ample supply of vaccines. “There may be plenty of vaccine available, but uptake of vaccine has not been equal,” WHO emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan said during a press briefing on Thursday.
WHO Europe head Hans Kluge blamed insufficient vaccination behind the rise in COVID-19 cases. In a press briefing Kluge predicted that the region would witness half a million additional fatalities by February
Kluge also blamed a relaxation of public health controls for increased COVID-19 cases in the WHO’s European area, which spans 53 nations and portions of Central Asia.
The rate of vaccination has slowed across the continent in recent months. While some 80% of people in Spain are double jabbed, in Germany it is as low as 66% – and far lower in some Eastern European countries. Only 32% of Russians were fully vaccinated by October 2021.
Notably, the WHO has recorded 1.4 million deaths so far.