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As Delta variant cases rise, WHO asks fully vaccinated to keep masks on

Mariangela Simao, WHO's assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products, said people cannot feel safe just because they had the two doses and that they still need to protect themselves.

June 26, 2021 / 01:02 PM IST
Representative Image (AFP)

Representative Image (AFP)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said people who are fully vaccinated will have to continue wearing masks, follow social distancing and other safety measures to contain the spread of the more deadly and contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is spreading rapidly across the globe.

Mariangela Simao, WHO's assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products, said people cannot feel safe just because they had the two doses and that they still need to protect themselves.

“Vaccine alone won’t stop community transmission. People need to continue to use masks consistently, be in ventilated spaces, hand hygiene ... the physical distance, avoid crowding,” Simao said during a news briefing from the agency’s Geneva headquarters, according to CNBC.

"This still continues to be extremely important, even if you’re vaccinated when you have a community transmission ongoing," she added.

According to CNBC, WHO officials said they are urging fully vaccinated people to continue to “play it safe” because highly contagious variants, like Delta, are spreading in many countries, triggering outbreaks and a large portion of the world are yet to be given the shots against the coronavirus disease or Covid-19.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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“Yes, you can reduce some measures and different countries have different recommendations in that regard. But there’s still the need for caution. As we are seeing, there are new variants emerging,” Dr Bruce Aylward, a senior advisor to the WHO’s director-general, was quoted as saying by CNBC.

WHO's director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that the Delta variant, first seen in India, is “the most transmissible of the variants identified so far,” and warned it is now spreading in at least 85 countries. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the lack of vaccines in poor countries was exacerbating the delta variant's transmission.

In India, Delta Plus, the more virulent version of the virus, has been reported from 12 states and there have been 51 cases and the maximum from Maharashtra.

The government, however, has said their numbers are "very localised" and it cannot be said that it is showing an upward trend. Officials have said that the Delta variant has nearly 15-17 mutations and was first reported in October last year, and it was responsible for more than 60 per cent of cases in Maharashtra in February.

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first published: Jun 26, 2021 01:02 pm
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