HealthDay News — Wealthy nations should not be giving COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to their citizens while poor nations struggle to get first doses of vaccines, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.
The U.N. health organization called for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September, even for the elderly, health care workers, and other high-risk groups.
“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the delta variant,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing. “But we cannot — and we should not — accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it, while the world’s most vulnerable people remain unprotected.”
Of more than 4 billion vaccine doses that have been given around the world, more than 80 percent have been used in high- and upper-middle-income countries, which account for less than half of the world’s population, Tedros said. High-income countries have administered almost 100 doses for every 100 people, he said, while low-income countries have administered just 1.5 doses for every 100 people, mainly because of a lack of supply.
“We need an urgent reversal, from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries, to the majority going to low-income countries,” he added.
Furthermore, Tedros asked the health ministers of the G-20 countries, who are meeting soon ahead of a planned summit in October, to make “concrete commitments” to reach global vaccination targets. The WHO would like to see 10 percent vaccination coverage reached in every country within the next two months.