WASHINGTON, U.S.--The World Health Organization said it is concerned about people inoculated against COVID-19 developing a false sense of security as the pandemic surges in Europe.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during his opening remarks to a media briefing on the pandemic in Geneva on Wednesday that vaccines work but they do not fully prevent the transmission of the virus.
"In many countries and communities, we are concerned about a false sense of security that vaccines have ended the pandemic, and that people who are vaccinated do not need to take any other precautions," he said.
The warning came as the pandemic deepens in Europe, where 60 percent of COVID-19 deaths last week were reported, he said.
On Tuesday, the WHO warned that the death toll in Europe could explode by more than 700,000 over the winter to 2.2 million lives lost to the pandemic.
The health authority credits the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus, governments suggesting that COVID-19 is no longer an emergency by easing pandemic mitigating measures and large numbers of communities still unvaccinated for the surge.
WHO data states that more than 53 percent of eligible Europeans are fully vaccinated against the virus, but Tedros on Wednesday urged them to continue to take precautions to prevent getting infected and infecting others, including wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, avoiding crowds, meeting people outside or in well-ventilated spaces.
"While Europe is again the epicenter of the pandemic, no country or region is out of the woods," he said. It's important for all countries to surge their capacities now to ensure the right measures are in place to avoid the worst consequences of any future waves."