As the vaccination campaign in Western Europe gathered traction in early 2021, many of the region’s politicians praised the injections as a quick way out of the epidemic. However, they have learned the hard way that vaccination does not lead to absolute resistance from the virus and its spread. Many of those nations are now reversing direction as another Covid-stricken winter hits Europe.
As countries are learning, even a high vaccination coverage isn’t enough to stop the spread of Covid-19, and warning signs from Germany and Austria, where cases have soared in recent weeks, highlight the perils of complacency. Austria will go into total national lockdown on Monday, only days after imposing a restriction on anyone who has not been vaccinated.
When it comes to preventing transmission, even a high vaccination rate isn’t always sufficient.
“Vaccinations help,” said Ralf Reintjes, professor of epidemiology and public health surveillance at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany. “They’re one stone in the process of stopping the virus. But it’s not strong enough alone.”CNN article, “Europe is learning a crucial lesson — vaccines work, but they alone won’t stop Covid now”
Leaders all around Europe are becoming more upset with their countries’ unvaccinated areas. Austria stated on Friday that vaccines will be required for everyone starting in February, a decision that was welcomed with a protest of over 10,000 people in Vienna on Saturday.
Not only is Europe responsible for about 60% of the global caseload, but the sudden surge negatively impacted the number of health care workers. A large number of workers quit after the first two waves because of the excessive and sudden hit of fatigue and exhaustion that was hard to manage. Experts say that no matter how high a country’s vaccination rate looks to be, vaccinations alone will not be enough to stop an epidemic.