Virologist explains rise of COVID cases in countries with high vaccination coverage

Vaccines provide a high level of protection against hospitalizations and deaths, but even 90% effectiveness is not 100%. This opinion was expressed by Antoine Flao, director of the Institute for Global Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva.

“This apparently small percentage of inadequate vaccine effectiveness can lead to high absolute numbers when large segments of the population are involved in waves of infection,” the expert said.

In recent days, a number of countries with large populations covered by vaccines have seen an increase in the spread of coronavirus cases. In Singapore, for example, with an 80 percent vaccination rate in October, the daily incidence reached 3,000 cases. In the United Kingdom, a country where more than 66 percent of the population received both required doses, the number of daily new infections exceeded 45,000 by mid-October, the highest level in three months. And in the United States, where two components of the vaccine cover 56% of the population, there have been 90,000 to 99,000 new cases each in recent days.

In many ways, the expert noted, the current increase in illness in countries with high vaccine coverage is due to their “vaccine only” strategy during the summer.

“Other countries with similar vaccination coverage, such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden or Norway, have adopted additional measures, including vaccination passports, mandatory wearing of a mask indoors and on public transport, more attention to indoor ventilation, testing policies and strict border controls,” Flao summarized.

However, vaccination remains the number one step toward overcoming the pandemic, the virologist stressed.