A paramedic prepares doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for patients at a walk-in COVID-19 clinic at a Buddhist temple in the Smithfield suburb of Sydney on Aug. 4, 2021.
Saeed Khan | AFP | Getty Images
The World Health Organization on Wednesday called on wealthy nations to stop distributing Covid-19 booster vaccinations, citing the global injustice in vaccines.
The agency said the stop should last at least two months to give the world a chance to meet the director-general’s goal of vaccinating 10% of each country’s population by the end of September.
“We need an urgent reversal of the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries and the majority to low-income countries,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference.
The application is part of Ghebreyesus’ plan to vaccinate 40% of the world’s population by December, according to senior adviser Dr. Bruce Aylward.
“The big picture here, as a policy, is not to move forward with boosters until we’ve reached the whole world at a point where the older populations, people with comorbidities, people who work on the front lines are protected as much as possible.” with vaccines, “Aylward said at the meeting.
Vaccinating the entire world population is crucial to end the coronavirus pandemic, experts say. The Delta variant, now ravaging the US, was first discovered by scientists in India after the original Covid strain was allowed to spread, replicate and eventually mutate. The result was a highly infectious variant with a higher likelihood of vaccine avoidance, which has become dominant in most countries.
More strains will emerge, which pose a greater risk to all vaccinated or unvaccinated countries unless the world population is vaccinated.
“The whole world is in the thick of it, and as we’ve seen with the advent of variant after variant, we can’t get out unless the whole world comes out together, and with the huge disparity in vaccination rates, we just won’t can achieve, “said Aylward.
The duration of the moratorium application could be extended if vaccination rates do not increase in countries with low rates.
“Now if you look at how vaccines are used around the world, the intake rate by high-income and upper-middle-income countries is absorbing too much of the global supply for the lowest-income countries,” said Aylward.
The move comes after Israel announced that the country will be giving booster doses to its elderly population. The Dominican Republic has also given its population booster doses, while neighboring Haiti recently secured its first vaccine doses.
People in the US are also finding ways to get booster vaccinations.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital announced Tuesday that they would allow patients who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in one dose to receive an additional injection of an mRNA vaccine.
Vaccine giant Pfizer has claimed that people need a booster dose, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the data to justify the need for booster doses remains unclear.
WHO officials also said they hope beyond December to have 70% of the world vaccinated by mid-2022, “and then we can really focus on how much beyond that,” Dr O’Brien, WHO- Director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologics said at the briefing.
Until this goal is achieved, the global health authorities hope that countries with high vaccination rates will comply with the demand for a moratorium and, above all, the demand for an end to vaccination inequality.
“We need a vaccine strategy, and we need public health and social action at the individual and community level.