All vaccines against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) are effective, even against the Delta mutation, according to Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.
Speaking at a virtual press conference on Wednesday, Al-Mandhari outlined the latest developments in the pandemic, the conditions of the mutations, as well as the vaccinations and health guidelines to be followed during the upcoming Eid Al-Adha holidays.
He said that social media campaigns will take place to provide correct information, adding that there are guidelines issued by the WHO that must be followed during the Hajj season. There are also social measures that should be taken when slaughtering animals as part of the Eid Al-Adha celebrations, as well as a number of tips for individuals when gathering.
Al-Mandhari also explained the number of COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Mediterranean Region are increasing, after two months of steady decline.
He said, “During the summer months, we are concerned about another sharp rise in cases due to alarming mutations and increased international travel, as well as a lower level of protection for people due to the limited uptake of vaccinations and inadequate adherence to prevention measures.”
He added, “Despite all efforts, we are seeing a rise in the weekly average of new cases and deaths across the region, compared to the same time last year due to several factors.”
For his part, Dr Evan Houten, Director of the Communicable Diseases Department at the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office, said, “All vaccines approved by the WHO are effective against the Delta variant, all countries must agree to all vaccines approved by the organisation, and make receiving vaccines a condition of travel.
He indicated that the organisation does not recommend receiving a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but rather those doses approved by the organisation. He stressed that the Delta variant has been found in 13 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region.