Countries around the world tighten coronavirus regulations for unvaccinated
NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM - As the omicron variant continues to spread around the world, countries are introducing stricter measures for unvaccinated people, while ramping up their efforts to motivate people to get a booster shot. More about the latest developments worldwide in vaccination and boosters is in the analytical article of Kazinform.
60.9 percent of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 10.04 billion doses have been administered globally, and 24.96 million are now administered each day. Only 10 percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.
Starting this week, Italy, which suffered the worst healthcare crisis after the first case was reported in the country, will mandate all citizens aged 50 and older to vaccinate. This is around 28 million of the country’s population.
Those who are employed will from now on have to show proof of vaccination to enter the workplace, with no such option as a coronavirus test left. It also introduced mandatory mask-wearing in all indoor and outdoor public places.
Italy has confirmed 10.8 million cases and more than 148,000 deaths since the pandemic began. As of January 30, 83 percent of the population have received at least one dose and 78.1 percent have been fully immunised against the virus.
The new move comes just a few weeks after Italy required a vaccine pass to use public transport and visit hotels, restaurants and fitness centres.
Other countries that were previously eager to make vaccination compulsory, are now reconsidering the step given the nature of the omicron variant. German Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach, however, cautioned against underestimating the new variant citing how getting vaccinated could reduce hospitalizations and deaths.
«Data from Switzerland shows again: hardly any people who have been boosted die from COVID and very few people who have been vaccinated,» she wrote in her Twitter account.
Germany, which is facing a severe load on its already strained healthcare system, reports record high figures. An average number of new daily cases exceeded 135,000 cases in the last week with cases rising by 108 percent from the average two weeks ago. But deaths have decreased by 42 percent.
Seventy six percent of the country’s population have received at least one dose and 74 percent are now fully vaccinated.
Germany’s Standing Committee on Vaccination recommends a booster vaccination with an mRNA vaccine - BioNTech, Moderna - for all vaccinated persons aged 12 and above at an interval of at least three months after the second dose.
In a joint move to curb the spread of the virus, the European Union decided to limit the expiry date of vaccination passports to nine months, which means that if a person received a second dose 270 days ago, she or he must get a booster to update the vaccination status.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said booster shots should be given six months after the second vaccine, at the latest.
Vaccination and revaccination also continue in Kazakhstan, which saw the worsening of the epidemiological situation after it confirmed the omicron variant in the country. Since the beginning of January, Kazakhstan has been recording its record high numbers of more than 15,000 new cases daily.
«For the first time since the pandemic began, new daily cases exceed 16,000, which is caused by high contagiousness and faster spread of the omicron variant,» said Kazakh Healthcare Minister Azhar Giniyat at the January 25 government meeting.
Over the past week, the incidence rate increased by 1.5 times, while mortality rate has declined.
«Compared to August, when we had the highest death toll, now the mortality rate has decreased by 12.5 times,» said Giniyat.
More than 9.7 million of the eligible population received at least one dose, and more than 8.7 million people were fully vaccinated, accounting for 80.2 percent of the eligible population.
While Kazakhstan offers Russian Sputnik V, its own QazVac vaccine, Chinese Vero Cell, it also offers Pfizer vaccine to teenagers and women who are pregnant and breastfeeding. At least 28.2 percent of the eligible population received the first dose of Pfizer, and 15 percent - the second dose.
The minister noted that daily vaccinations have ramped up in Kazakhstan from 7,000 in November to 30,000 in January.
Nearly 37 percent have received a booster dose.
«Despite the positive dynamic in revaccination rates, we need to continue the work. First of all. people over 60 years old should receive a booster shot, because there are 126 patients in extremely severe condition in intensive care, and 60 percent of them are older than 60 years old,» said the minister.
In the United States, however, boosters are given at a slower pace.
The doctors and data have made crystal clear, vaccinations and boosters provide the best protection,« White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said during a press briefing on Wednesday. «Vaccines remain our single most powerful tool.«
Half of the country’s population that is eligible for a booster shot have not yet received it and the daily vaccination rate is going down as well.