Don’t mandate vaccines before reaching out to community: WHO Europe chief

The World Health Organization's Europe regional chief on Tuesday urged governments not to mandate vaccines before initially reaching out to communities as 120,000 deaths have been reported in the region over the past month, Anadolu Agency reports.

Dr. Hans Kluge told an online news conference that vaccinations should not be mandated without reaching out to the communities first.

“Mandates around vaccination are an absolute last resort and only applicable when all other feasible options to improve vaccination uptake have been exhausted,” said Kluge.

Compulsory vaccination "must be supported by appropriate policy considerations, a comprehensive implementation plan, including provisions for exemptions, and a strong communications component for the population," he noted.

"Ultimately, mandates should never contribute to increasing social inequalities in access to health and social services," Kluge added.

He recalled that he issued an alert last month that a further half a million lives could be lost by early 2022 unless urgent action is taken.

“A month has passed now, and a further 120,000 people have died, and the region has added another 10 million COVID-19 cases to its tally,” said Kluge.

“By the end of this week, one in 10 people across the Europe and Central Asia region will have had COVID-19 infection, confirmed by laboratory testing.”

Kluge said that reaching the end of the year and with “the festive season” approaching in the European region, the total number of reported deaths due to COVID-19 has reached “a high plateau,” close to 4,100 daily, doubling from 2,100 at the end of September.


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