Coronavirus Chronicle in Moldova: Vaccination Slowed Down

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Marina DRAGALIN The epidemiological situation in Moldova is returning to normal and the decreasing COVID-19 incidence is confirming it. However, the low population’s immunization rate is of concern. To date, only 1% of citizens have completed the full vaccination course whilst those willing to receive a dose are quite few in number even despite drugsavailability. Generally, there has been recordeda decrease ofthe new type of coronavirus incidence in the world over last two weeks. The number of cases detected has decreased by about 150 thousand per day. The World Health Organization has even announced a plateau in morbidity and mortality. However, the WHOHead, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasizes that the situation remains dangerous: there are countries in every region of the worldwhere the level of infection is growing. “This is an unacceptably high plateau with over 5.4 million COVID-19 cases and nearly 90,000 deaths last week,” Ghebreyesus said. In total, 162 million people have been infected so far and 3.36 million out of them have died. At the moment, according to official figures, mortality from COVID-19 varies around 2%. However, scientists believe this figure is underestimated by half. Specialists from the University of Washington published a study according to which the overall mortality statistics in the world are 2 times higher than the official one, since the number of deaths is almost universally calculated incorrectly. The scientific work claims that the total number of people who died from the "crown" reaches almost 7 million. According to scientists, about 900 thousand people and not 570 thousandin the United States have died from the coronavirus, in Russia the figure reached almost 600 thousandand not 114thousand, whilst the real statistics in India are almost 3 times higher than the official one. The researchers obtained such indicators comparing the average number of expected deaths from any cause in the pre-pandemic period with the actual number of deaths during the crisis. "Many countries have done their best to establish the pandemic victims’number but our analysis shows how difficult it is to get accurate data on the new and rapidly spreading infectious disease," Chris Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at Washington universitysays. "We hope this report will push global governments to fill the gaps within COVID-19 deaths and will allow better resources allocation aimed at tackling the pandemic." In the meantime, vaccines remain the main "resource" in the fight against the pandemic. WHO has recently approved China's Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19 and calls for greater vaccination opportunities through recognizing Russian "Sputnik V".  Meanwhile, the European Union didn't renew its order for AstraZeneca's vaccine after June, and Norway officially excluded this drug from the national inoculation program due to a risk of rare but harmful side effects. Unequal access to vaccines and their limited number significantly affect the incidence dynamics and geography. Therefore, the results of negotiations on waiving patents for vaccines (BioNTech is ready to temporarily lift intellectual property rights) and introduction of COVID certificates and vaccination passports into practice will be of the utmost importance. With regards to the latter, the first of them are to be launched by the United Kingdom next week. Against this background, the coronavirus immunization low rates in Moldova cause some concern. Earlier in the week, for example, fewer than 50 people were vaccinated per day across the country, and this despite the fact that there are enough jabs and a decision was made to gradually launch the third stage of the vaccination program. You can sign up for a shot online through a special platform. According to the latest data, just over 27 thousand people (1%) have been fully vaccinated in the republic, about 203 thousand doses have been administered in total. That the vaccination process is slow-moving was marked also by President Maia Sandu. "I held a working meeting with the state secretariats of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection. We stressed that the COVID-19 vaccination process is too slow compared to how much vaccine we were able to bring to the country. Many Moldovans want to get vaccinated, and the ministry must ensure that those who wish are immunized as soon as possible," Maia Sandu emphasized. Nevertheless, despite the decrease in the vaccination rates, the incidence continues to decline. Since the end of April, the number of new cases has not exceeded 350 per day. The rate of positive tests has dropped to 4%. In total, 253 thousand cases were registered in Moldova, 5995 of which are deaths.