Giving Covid booster shots to healthy people is 'not right,' WHO says

Nurse Mary Ezzat administers a Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot to Jessica M. at UCI Medical Center in Orange, CA, on Thursday, August 19, 2021.

Jeff Gritchen | MediaNews Group | Orange County Register by way of Getty Images

World Health Organization officers known as once more for rich nations to cease distributing Covid vaccine booster doses in hopes of constructing extra shots obtainable for poorer international locations with lagging immunization charges.

The WHO lacks enough scientific knowledge to condone the widespread use of boosters, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated at a press briefing Tuesday. The group has labored to tackle vaccine inequities since final winter, asking world leaders on Wednesday to impose a moratorium on third doses by way of the tip of the 12 months to redirect surplus vaccines to low-income nations.

“There are countries with less than 2% vaccination coverage, most of them in Africa, who are not even getting their first and second dose” Tedros stated. “And starting with boosters, especially giving it to healthy populations, is really not right.”

In Africa, slightly below 3.5% of the eligible inhabitants is absolutely vaccinated, WHO officers stated. The group reiterated its approval for the administration of booster doses for the immunocompromised, however stated Africa was on monitor to miss the director-general’s purpose of a ten% vaccination fee in each nation by the tip of the 12 months.

Booster rollouts have already begun throughout the United States, the place the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that almost 54% of the inhabitants is absolutely vaccinated. More than 1.8 million boosters have already been administered, the CDC stated. If the WHO indicators off on boosters, their distribution would require an funding of roughly $1 billion per 12 months in Africa, Benedict Oramah, president and chair of the African Export-Import Bank’s board of administrators, stated on the briefing.

Though a number of nations have pledged to donate a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses to the creating world, commerce restrictions have made it troublesome for low-income nations to purchase vaccines on their very own, stated Strive Masiyiwa, particular envoy to the African Union for Covid-19. Rolling again these restrictions would assist facilitate elevated vaccinations throughout Africa, Masiyiwa stated.

“We want access to purchase,” he stated. “We call on those countries that have put restrictions on exports – exports of vaccines as finished products, exports of ingredients, drug substance.”

“These restrictions are even more urgent for us today than intellectual property because the intellectual property doesn’t deliver a vaccine to us tomorrow,” Masiyiwa added.

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