One virus, two pandemics: how Europe proves the danger of anti-vaxxers
Data show a stark continental divide in death rates and cases requiring hospitalisation
A year ago, the course of the pandemic changed thanks to the first safe and effective vaccines against Covid-19. Today, after administering 7.3-billion doses and preventing countless severe deaths, we have more data than ever to justify that early enthusiasm — and the need to keep jabbing.
On top of waning immunity and the lifting of restrictions, countries with persistently low vaccination rates are being hit hard by new waves of the virus. As the Delta variant rears its ugly head across Europe once more, the continent is experiencing two very different pandemics. Both will need action.
For much of the rich world, vaccine supply issues are a distant memory. Waning immunity is the bigger threat, and highly-inoculated countries such as Spain or Denmark — where nearly 100% of over-60s have been fully vaccinated — are focused on zapping complacency with booster shots. Even controversial measures such as health passes and mandatory shots for medical staff have paid off and lifted take-up despite protests. On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said France’s Covid pass would require third doses for the elderly...