WHO: At this pace, it would take 2 yrs and a half for Romania to vaccinate 70% of the population

Romania could reach 40% of the population vaccinated against COVID only in over seven months, and it would take 31 months to vaccinate 70% of the population, if the current vaccination rate is maintained, according to the representatives of the World Health Organization, who came to Bucharest on Monday to discuss with the Romanian authorities and to see what is the cause of the failure of the vaccination campaign.

According to the Vaccination Coordinating Committee, the discussions took place by videoconference, and the Romanian authorities informed that the country is facing a very high increase in severe cases and deaths, 92% of COVID-19 deaths being in unvaccinated people. Most of them had other diseases, but there were also deaths among young people, children and the active population.

“Despite a very good start to the vaccination campaign in December 2020, there are still programmatic and operational challenges in expanding vaccination,” authorities said.

The main issues

-There are large differences in vaccine coverage from one county to another, with northeastern and southern counties having lower vaccine coverage.

-Coverage by age groups shows vaccination coverage of about 50% in people aged 50 to 69, but only around 20% in people over 80.

-There is also a gender gap, as women are significantly less vaccinated than men, with a difference of almost 20%, in people over 60 years.

-Vaccination in the general population in Romania is low and stagnant, being below the general average of regional vaccination. Vaccination is lower than expected in vulnerable priority groups (> 80 years).

According to the authorities, Romania’s goal is to vaccinate 2 million people against COVID-19 (the first dose) by the end of this year (45% of the population) and 70% of the population by the first quarter of 2022.

On the other hand ,WHO estimates show that, if the vaccination rate of the last 6 weeks is maintained and the vaccination strategies in force, Romania will reach a vaccination coverage of 40% for the total population in about 7 months and a coverage of 70% in about 31 months.

The WHO also shows that the level of vaccination with the complete scheme is high in Romania, indicating that people who start vaccination make the necessary doses. “It is necessary to make sure that the rest of the medical staff is not only vaccinated, but also recommends vaccination against COVID-19 to the population,” said the representatives of the World Health Organization.

The WHO also says it has seen steady growth over the past three weeks in vaccination, but especially among people under 50.

It is important for Romania to focus on providing vaccines to those at greatest risk of death and severe forms of the disease, such as the elderly, people with chronic diseases and other at-risk categories (pregnant people, staff working in key areas), WHO further says.

They also suggest that, in order to define a communication strategy to support the expansion of vaccination in Romania, it is essential that policies be defined through a better understanding of the reasons in the age groups of the population with a low level of vaccination.

As next steps, in addition to the ongoing and planned efforts of the Romanian government and Ministry of Health, WHO will work closely with the National Coordinating Committee for Vaccination Activities against COVID-19 (CNCAV), the Ministry of Health, the National Surveillance and Control Center for Communicable Diseases on training opportunities and exchanges of information between health professionals on vaccine safety and the development of communication strategies, through a better understanding of the reasons for the low level of vaccination in population groups.

On Monday, Romania exceeded the threshold of 6,000,000 people vaccinated with at least one dose.

Secretary of state within Health Ministry, Andrei Baciu told G4Media that the expert sent by the WHO in Romania to assist the government in the health crisis will remain in the country for 60 days and will give recommendations following field visits.

campaignCOVID-19failureRomaniavaccinationvaccinesWHOWorld Health Organization
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