WHO asks for a halt on booster shots for Covid delta variant
To contain the spread of the Delta variant, some countries have begun using or are considering the need for booster doses, although scientists are debating whether or not extra shots are required.Author : A. Gayatri
The World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday has called for a stoppage on Coronavirus vaccine boosters until at least the end of September. This comes as the gap between vaccinations in wealthy and poor countries is widening.
The step was made to enable at least 10% of the population of every nation to be vaccinated, said Tedros.
The decision on halting the booster shots is seen as the strongest from the UN agency at a time when countries are pondering over giving boosters to fight the ever-fast spreading Delta variant of the Covid-19.
"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," Tedros added.
According to WHO, wealthy nations have administered around 50 doses for every 100 people in May and that count has doubled since then. However, low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people because of a vaccine shortage.
"We need an urgent reversal from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries to the majority going to low-income countries," said Tedros.
To contain the spread of the Delta variant, some countries have begun using or are considering the need for booster doses, although scientists are debating whether or not extra shots are required.
Elin Hoffmann Dahl, infectious diseases medical adviser to Medecins Sans Frontieres` access campaign has said the fact that healthy adults are vaccinated with Covid vaccine booster shots is imprudent and careless.
"With the emergence of new variants, if we continue to leave the majority of the world unvaccinated, we will most definitely need adjusted vaccines in the future," added Dahl.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog had received a third Covid vaccine shot last week, inaugurating a campaign to give a booster shot to individuals above the age of 60 in the country.
The US has agreed with Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech to purchase 200 million more doses of their vaccines to aid in the vaccination as well as possible booster shots. The US health regulators, however, are evaluating if booster shots are needed.
On Monday, Germany stated that it will in September begin giving a booster shot to susceptible people.
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates will also commence administering booster doses to fully vaccinated people who are at high risk, three months after their second vaccine dose, and six months for others.