The World Health Organization (WHO) warned in a press conference on Tuesday that flu cases are “rapidly increasing” in several European countries, putting a strain on primary care and hospitals. The WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, noted that this situation is “not out of the ordinary,” but added that hospitalizations due to respiratory infections have risen by 58%.
According to WHO data, as is happening in Spain, the most affected demographic groups are babies and those over 65 years old, who are experiencing the worst rates of flu infection.
In related news, the flu has decreased for the first time in four weeks after reaching its peak. However, hospitalization rates have slightly risen to 14 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Kluge also reported a new variant of the COVID-19 virus, named ga.1, which has become the “most common and dominant” in the European region. This variant accounts for 76% of new infections and, while not the most severe, has been described as “unpredictable.” The WHO has urged continued vigilance against respiratory viruses and warned of the rise of other pathogens, such as measles.
A new study presented by the WHO shows that COVID-19 vaccines have saved at least 1.4 million lives in Europe, with over 90 percent of those saved being over 60 years old.
The article also mentions a promotional offer from ABC and quotes Hans Kluge on the impact of vaccines. He stated that without vaccines, the cumulative death toll in the European region could have been around four million, possibly even higher. Overall, COVID-19 vaccines have reduced mortality by 57 percent across the WHO’s European region from December 2020, when vaccine deployment began, to March 2023.
Furthermore, Kluge emphasized that just the initial booster doses alone saved about 700,000 lives. “This is the power of vaccines, the evidence is undeniable,” he declared.
Dr. Catherine Smallwood, the director of the WHO’s Emergency Health Program, explained that this report updates a previous study published in November 2021. She mentioned that other groups have published very similar studies, though using different methodologies, but all conclude that vaccines have saved millions of lives, especially among the elderly.