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Just over 40% of the eligible population in Monaco are still unvaccinated as health authorities in nearby France warn of a possible “fourth wave” by the end of July.

The latest data by the Prince’s government shows that, as of 1st July, 20,178 people in Monaco had received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, equivalent to 58.6% of the eligible population aged 12 and older. Of those, 88% had also received their second shot.

While the figure places Monaco high in the chart of vaccination rates per country – the United Arab Emirates has a vaccination figure of 64%, followed by Chile with 57% and the UK at 50% – it does mean that close to 40% of the eligible population in Monaco is still unvaccinated, despite ample supplies.

Health authorities are continuing their push for everyone over the age of 12 to take advantage of Monaco’s vaccination programme, which uses Pfizer exclusively. As of 28th June, even cross-border workers employed in the public sector are now able to access the free shot.

France fears another rapid wave

Nearby France this week warned of a possible “fourth wave” by the end of July due to the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, which now accounts for 30% of new infections in the country.

“Over the past week, the epidemic is again gaining ground,” French government spokesman Gabriel Attal told France Inter radio on Monday, adding that a fourth wave of infections is “a possibility” by the end of this month. His statement echoes a warning issued by Health Minister Olivier Veran late Sunday.

According to government data, L452R variants, including the Delta variant, now account for 78% of cases in the Alpes-Maritimes, where the incidence rate of circulation stands at 30, compared to 24 for the whole country. Hospitalisations are far from saturation point however, with intensive care units in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region at 24% capacity.

As of 4th July, Monaco’s incidence rate was 42, down from 60 the previous week. Only one person, a non-resident, is hospitalised with Covid at the CHPG.

Since the start of the pandemic, 2,595 people in Monaco have been infected with Covid, 33 of those have died.

When will we reach herd immunity?

Many scientists had thought that once people started being immunised against Covid en masse, herd immunity would permit society to return to normal. Most estimates had placed the threshold at 60–70% of the population gaining immunity, either through vaccinations or past exposure to the virus. But as the pandemic enters its second year, the thinking has begun to shift.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 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 prioritised for vaccination, and other factors,” says the WHO.

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Photo by Monaco Life

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