WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday that the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for a halt to booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine until at least the end of September.
Tedros said the move aims to allow at least 10% of the population in each country to be vaccinated.
The call to stop distributing booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine is the strongest ever by the United Nations agency, as the gap between immunization rates widens in rich and poor countries.
“I understand the interest of all governments in protecting their people from the delta variable,” Tedros added. “But we cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global vaccine supply by using more.”
According to the World Health Organization, rich countries administered about 50 doses per 100 people in May, and that number has doubled since then. Low-income countries were only able to administer 1.5 doses per 100 people, due to lack of input.
“We need an urgent reversal: for most of the vaccines that go to high-income countries, to low-income countries,” Tedros said.
Some countries have begun to use or discuss the need for booster doses.
Last week, Israeli President Isaac Herzog received a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine, as he launched a campaign to provide booster doses to people over 60 in the country.
Germany announced on Monday that in September it will start providing a booster dose to people at risk. The UAE will also start providing a booster dose to all fully vaccinated people considered to be at high risk three months after the second dose of the vaccine and six months for others.
In July, the United States signed an agreement with Pfizer and German partner BioNTech to purchase an additional 200 million doses of covid-19 vaccines to help with childhood immunizations, as well as potential boosters.
US health regulators are still assessing the need for a booster dose.
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