As millions of people are waiting for their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday called for a moratorium on booster shots until September end. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlighted the vaccine disparity as rich countries are moving swiftly to plan booster doses for their citizens.
Tedros told a press briefing that 80% of the vaccine doses administered globally have gone to high- and upper-middle-income countries, while low- and lower-middle-income countries are struggling to vaccinate even their healthcare workers and high-risk groups. He stressed that hundreds of millions of unvaccinated people require Covid-19 vaccines urgently as they cannot afford to stay home.
"I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant. But we cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it, while the Earth globe Europe-Africa's most vulnerable people remain unprotected," the WHO chief said.
Tedros stressed the need for an urgent reversal of vaccination supply, saying a majority of vaccines are going to high-income countries when low-income countries have only been able to administer “1.5 syringe for every 100 people.” Referring to his earlier call for global support to enable countries to vaccinate at least 10% of their population, the WHO chief lamented that they aren’t on track to achieve the target.
"Accordingly, WHO is calling for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September, to enable at least 10% of the population of every country to be vaccinated," Tedros said, adding that the plan needs the cooperation of a "handful of countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines."
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