At least half a million lives have been saved by vaccines against Covid in Europe, according to a report released today by the European section of the World Health Organization.
According to the study, counting only those over 60 in almost 30 European countries with a total population of 460 million, 470,000 lives have been saved since the start of the vaccination campaign.
The estimate proves conservative because it does not include the number of lives saved among those under the age of 60, nor the factor of a reduction in transmission.
The study, conducted from data collected in more than half of the 53 countries in the WHO region of Europe, estimates that nearly 160,000 lives were saved in England and almost 39,000 in France.
Data are not available for 20 countries in the region, including Russia, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.
“What this study shows is that (vaccines) are doing what they promised, saving lives by offering very high levels of protection against serious forms and death,” said Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe. continue immunization campaigns.
“In some countries, the death toll may be twice as high as it is today without vaccines,” Kluge said.
In the European Union, 67.7% of the population received two doses of the vaccine but the differences between countries are very large. For example, only 25% of Bulgarians are vaccinated, compared to 86.7% of Portuguese.
In all, since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 1.5 million people have died from Covid in the region, 90% of whom were over 60 years old. Vaccines must be accompanied by a series of precautions to keep transmission levels low.
On Tuesday, the WHO warned of an additional 700,000 deaths in Europe by the spring. He called for a “vaccine plus” approach, combining vaccination, mask use, hygiene measures and social distancing.
The WHO warned on Wednesday that the highly contagious Delta variant reduces the effectiveness of vaccines against transmitting the disease by 40%.