Will Spain Lift Ban On Unvaccinated?
- Víctormanuel Paz
Spain Lifts Entry Ban for Non-Vaccinated Travellers From Non-EU Countries.
Will COVID-19 vaccines stop the pandemic?
Will COVID-19 vaccines stop the pandemic? – It is likely that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will continue to circulate and evolve. It is not possible to predict how infectious or severe new variants of the virus will be. It is therefore very important to achieve and maintain high vaccination coverage across all communities and population groups, at national and international levels.
- Vaccination remains a key component of the multi-layered approach needed to reduce the impact of SARS-CoV-2;
- As of March 2022, uptake of the primary vaccination course of COVID-19 vaccine has been slowing down in EU countries and not enough people are getting booster doses;
More efforts are needed to ensure more people get fully vaccinated and receive booster doses, in order to increase levels of protection and reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2. This is especially important for those at highest risk of severe disease and particularly in the context of highly transmissible variants like Omicron.
Is COVID-19 vaccination still necessary, even after getting infected with the virus and recovering?
Is COVID-19 vaccination still necessary, even after getting infected with the virus and recovering? – People who have recovered from a prior infection are less likely to get infected with SARS-CoV-2 and have severe outcomes from COVID-19 (hospitalisation, ICU admission and death), when compared with individuals who have not been infected.
However, protection is enhanced by vaccination. Studies show that reinfections with SARS-CoV-2 occur even in people who have had COVID-19. Furthermore, the Omicron variant has led to more reinfections among recovered people when compared with the previously circulating Delta variant.
Evidence is growing that vaccination after infection strengthens protection and further reduces the risk of reinfection. Therefore, COVID-19 vaccination is generally recommended for the eligible population, including those who have recovered from the disease.
How do we achieve herd immunity against COVID-19?
To safely achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, a substantial proportion of a population would need to be vaccinated, lowering the overall amount of virus able to spread in the whole population.
What are the common side effects of COVID-19 vaccines?
Commonly reported adverse events – The most commonly reported adverse events with COVID-19 vaccines are expected vaccine side effects, such as headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, fever and chills and pain at the site of injection. The occurrence of these adverse events is consistent with what is already known about the vaccines from clinical trials.
What is the percentage of people who need to be immune against COVID-19 in order to achieve herd immunity?
Updated 31 December 2020 ‘Herd immunity’, also known as ‘population immunity’, is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection. WHO supports achieving ‘herd immunity’ through vaccination, not by allowing a disease to spread through any segment of the population, as this would result in unnecessary cases and deaths.
- Herd immunity against COVID-19 should be achieved by protecting people through vaccination, not by exposing them to the pathogen that causes the disease;
- Read the Director-General’s 12 October media briefing speech for more detail;
Vaccines train our immune systems to create proteins that fight disease, known as ‘antibodies’, just as would happen when we are exposed to a disease but – crucially – vaccines work without making us sick. Vaccinated people are protected from getting the disease in question and passing on the pathogen, breaking any chains of transmission.
Visit our webpage on COVID-19 and vaccines for more detail. To safely achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, a substantial proportion of a population would need to be vaccinated, lowering the overall amount of virus able to spread in the whole population.
One of the aims with working towards herd immunity is to keep vulnerable groups who cannot get vaccinated (e. due to health conditions like allergic reactions to the vaccine) safe and protected from the disease. Read our Q&A on vaccines and immunization for more information.
The percentage of people who need to be immune in order to achieve herd immunity varies with each disease. For example, herd immunity against measles requires about 95% of a population to be vaccinated. The remaining 5% will be protected by the fact that measles will not spread among those who are vaccinated.
For polio, the threshold is about 80%. The proportion of the population that must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin inducing herd immunity is not known. This is an important area of research and will likely vary according to the community, the vaccine, the populations prioritized for vaccination, and other factors.
Achieving herd immunity with safe and effective vaccines makes diseases rarer and saves lives. Find out more about the science behind herd immunity by watching or reading this interview with WHO’s Chief Scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan.
Attempts to reach ‘herd immunity’ through exposing people to a virus are scientifically problematic and unethical. Letting COVID-19 spread through populations, of any age or health status will lead to unnecessary infections, suffering and death. The vast majority of people in most countries remain susceptible to this virus.
Seroprevalence surveys suggest that in most countries, less than 10% of the population have been infected with COVID-19. We are still learning about immunity to COVID-19. Most people who are infected with COVID-19 develop an immune response within the first few weeks, but we don’t know how strong or lasting that immune response is, or how it differs for different people.
There have also been reports of people infected with COVID-19 for a second time. Until we better understand COVID-19 immunity, it will not be possible to know how much of a population is immune and how long that immunity last for, let alone make future predictions.
These challenges should preclude any plans that try to increase immunity within a population by allowing people to get infected. Although older people and those with underlying conditions are most at risk of severe disease and death, they are not the only ones at risk.
Finally, while most infected people get mild or moderate forms of COVID-19 and some experience no disease, many become seriously ill and must be admitted into hospital. We are only beginning to understand the long-term health impacts among people who have had COVID-19, including what is being described as ‘Long COVID.
- ‘ WHO is working with clinicians and patient groups to better understand the long term effects of COVID-19;
- Read the Director-General’s opening remarks at the 12 October COVID-19 briefing for a summary of WHO’s position;
Most people who are infected with COVID-19 develop an immune response within the first few weeks after infection. Research is still ongoing into how strong that protection is and how long it lasts. WHO is also looking into whether the strength and length of immune response depends on the type of infection a person has: without symptoms (‘asymptomatic’), mild or severe.
- Even people without symptoms seem to develop an immune response;
- Globally, data from seroprevalence studies suggests that less 10% of those studied have been infected, meaning that the vast majority of the world’s population remains susceptible to this virus;
For other coronaviruses – such as the common cold, SARS-CoV-1 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) – immunity declines over time, as is the case with other diseases. While people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus develop antibodies and immunity, we do not yet know how long it lasts.
Watch this conversation with Dr Mike Ryan and Dr Maria Van Kerkhove for more information on immunity. Large scale physical distancing measures and movement restrictions, often referred to as ‘lockdowns’, can slow COVID‑19 transmission by limiting contact between people.
However, these measures can have a profound negative impact on individuals, communities, and societies by bringing social and economic life to a near stop. Such measures disproportionately affect disadvantaged groups, including people in poverty, migrants, internally displaced people and refugees, who most often live in overcrowded and under resourced settings, and depend on daily labour for subsistence.
- WHO recognizes that at certain points, some countries have had no choice but to issue stay-at-home orders and other measures, to buy time;
- Governments must make the most of the extra time granted by ‘lockdown’ measures by doing all they can to build their capacities to detect, isolate, test and care for all cases; trace and quarantine all contacts; engage, empower and enable populations to drive the societal response and more;
WHO is hopeful that countries will use targeted interventions where and when needed, based on the local situation.
Do smokers suffer from worse COVID-19 symptoms?
What are the possible relations between tobacco use and the COVID19 pandemic? – Tobacco use may increase the risk of suffering from serious symptoms due to COVID-19 illness. Early research indicates that, compared to non-smokers, having a history of smoking may substantially increase the chance of adverse health outcomes for COVID-19 patients, including being admitted to intensive care, requiring mechanical ventilation and suffering severe health consequences .
Smoking is already known to be a risk-factor for many other respiratory infections, including colds, influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis . The effects of smoking on the respiratory system makes it more likely that smokers contract these diseases, which could be more severe .
Smoking is also associated with increased development of acute respiratory distress syndrome, a key complication for severe cases of COVID-19 , among people with severe respiratory infections . Any kind of tobacco smoking is harmful to bodily systems, including the cardiovascular and respiratory systems .
COVID-19 can also harm these systems. Evidence from China, where COVID-19 originated, shows that people who have cardiovascular and respiratory conditions caused by tobacco use, or otherwise, are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms .
Research on 55 924 laboratory confirmed cases show that the crude fatality rate for COVID-19 patients is much higher among those with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, chronic respiratory disease or cancer than those with no pre-existing chronic medical conditions .
This demonstrates that these pre-existing conditions may increase the vulnerability of such individuals to COVID-19. Tobacco use has a huge impact on respiratory health and is the most common cause of lung cancer .
It is also the most important risk-factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which causes the swelling and rupturing of the air sacs in the lungs, reducing the lung’s capacity to take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide, and the build-up of mucus, resulting in painful coughing and breathing difficulties .
This may have implications for smokers given that the virus that causes COVID-19 primarily affects the respiratory system often causing mild to severe respiratory damage , which could result in fatality.
However, given that COVID-19 is a newly identified disease, the link between tobacco use and the disease needs further documentation and research. In addition, there is an increased risk of more serious symptoms and death among COVID-19 patients who have underlying conditions, including cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) .
- The virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is from the same family as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, both of which have been associated with cardiovascular damage (either acute or chronic) ;
- There is also evidence that COVID-19 patients that have more severe symptoms often have heart-related complications ;
This relationship between COVID-19 and cardiovascular health is important because tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke are major causes of CVDs globally . The effect of COVID-19 on the cardiovascular system could thus make pre-existing cardiovascular conditions worse.
Do vaccinated individuals still need to apply personal protective measures during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Do vaccinated individuals still need to apply personal protective measures? – Vaccinated individuals should continue to follow public health measures, as per national recommendations. People who are vaccinated can still get infected and infect others, though this occurs much less often than in people who are unvaccinated. These can include, for example:
- ensuring proper ventilation
- implementing the use of face masks for all long-term care facility staff and all contacts involved in resident care (particularly while indoors), irrespective of an individual’s vaccination status
- practicing physical distancing.
What is the body’s first line of defense against pathogens?
This article is part of a series of explainers on vaccine development and distribution. Learn more about vaccines – from how they work and how they’re made to ensuring safety and equitable access – in WHO’s Vaccines Explained series. Germs are all around us, both in our environment and in our bodies.
When a person is susceptible and they encounter a harmful organism, it can lead to disease and death. The body has many ways of defending itself against pathogens (disease-causing organisms). Skin, mucus, and cilia (microscopic hairs that move debris away from the lungs) all work as physical barriers to prevent pathogens from entering the body in the first place.
When a pathogen does infect the body, our body’s defences, called the immune system, are triggered and the pathogen is attacked and destroyed or overcome.
Why is healthy eating important for the immune system, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic?
#HealthyAtHome: Healthy Diet Eating a healthy diet is very important during the COVID-19 pandemic. What we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to prevent, fight and recover from infections. While no foods or dietary supplements can prevent or cure COVID-19 infection, healthy diets are important for supporting immune systems. Good nutrition can also reduce the likelihood of developing other health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.
For babies, a healthy diet means exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months, with the introduction of nutritious and safe foods to complement breastmilk from age 6 months to 2 years and beyond. For young children, a healthy and balanced diet is essential for growth and development.
For older people, it can help to ensure healthier and more active lives.
Who are at higher risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19?
Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
What are the complications of COVID-19?
Complications may include pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multi-organ failure, septic shock, and death.
What are some symptoms of COVID-19?
Signs and symptoms – The symptoms of COVID-19 are variable depending on the type of variant contracted, ranging from mild symptoms to critical and possibly fatal illness. Common symptoms include coughing , fever , loss of smell (anosmia) and taste (ageusia), with less common ones including headaches , nasal congestion and runny nose , muscle pain , sore throat , diarrhea , eye irritation , and toes swelling or turning purple, and in moderate to severe cases breathing difficulties.
- People with the COVID-19 infection may have different symptoms, and their symptoms may change over time;
- Three common clusters of symptoms have been identified: one respiratory symptom cluster with cough, sputum , shortness of breath , and fever; a musculoskeletal symptom cluster with muscle and joint pain, headache, and fatigue; a cluster of digestive symptoms with abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea;
In people without prior ear, nose, and throat disorders, loss of taste combined with loss of smell is associated with COVID-19 and is reported in as many as 88% of symptomatic cases. Of people who show symptoms, 81% develop only mild to moderate symptoms (up to mild pneumonia ), while 14% develop severe symptoms ( dyspnea , hypoxia , or more than 50% lung involvement on imaging) which requiring hospitalization and 5% of patients develop critical symptoms ( respiratory failure , septic shock , or multiorgan dysfunction ) requiring ICU admission.
- At least a third of the people who are infected with the virus do not develop noticeable symptoms at any point in time;
- These asymptomatic carriers tend not to get tested and can still spread the disease;
Other infected people will develop symptoms later, called “pre-symptomatic”, or have very mild symptoms and can also spread the virus. As is common with infections, there is a delay between the moment a person first becomes infected and the appearance of the first symptoms.
- The median delay for COVID-19 is four to five days possibly being infectious on 1-4 of those days;
- Most symptomatic people experience symptoms within two to seven days after exposure, and almost all will experience at least one symptom within 12 days;
Most people recover from the acute phase of the disease. However, some people – over half of a cohort of home-isolated young adults identified in June, 2021 – continued to experience a range of effects, such as fatigue , for months even after recovery, a condition called long COVID ; long-term damage to organs has been observed.
Multi-year studies are underway to further investigate the potential long-term effects of the disease. The Omicron variant became dominant in the U. starting in December 2021. Symptoms with the Omicron variant are less severe as they are with other variants.
What is the origin of COVID-19?
Virology – Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. It was first isolated from three people with pneumonia connected to the cluster of acute respiratory illness cases in Wuhan. All structural features of the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus particle occur in related coronaviruses in nature. Outside the human body, the virus is destroyed by household soap, which bursts its protective bubble.
- SARS-CoV-2 is closely related to the original SARS-CoV;
- It is thought to have an animal ( zoonotic ) origin;
- Genetic analysis has revealed that the coronavirus genetically clusters with the genus Betacoronavirus , in subgenus Sarbecovirus (lineage B) together with two bat-derived strains;
It is 96% identical at the whole genome level to other bat coronavirus samples (BatCov RaTG13 ). The structural proteins of SARS-CoV-2 include membrane glycoprotein (M), envelope protein (E), nucleocapsid protein (N), and the spike protein (S).
The M protein of SARS-CoV-2 is about 98% similar to the M protein of bat SARS-CoV, maintains around 98% homology with pangolin SARS-CoV, and has 90% homology with the M protein of SARS-CoV; whereas, the similarity is only around 38% with the M protein of MERS-CoV.
Can I get COVID-19 while swimming?
Fact: Water or swimming does not transmit the COVID-19 virus – The COVID-19 virus does not transmit through water while swimming. However, the virus spreads between people when someone has close contact with an infected person. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Avoid crowds and maintain at least a 1-metre distance from others, even when you are swimming or at swimming areas.