Warning that if inoculation rates are not raised globally, stronger variants of the coronavirus could develop WHO Director-General called on high-income countries on Monday to delay giving booster shots to its citizens and instead donate the jabs to countries with only 1% or 2% vaccination rate, The Jerusalem Post reports.
Addressing the nations during a visit to Budapest, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said priority should be given to vaccination of the vulnerable population that has not been inoculated and pointed to WHO’s current data does not indicate that COVID-19 booster shots are needed at the moment.
Ghebreyesus also mentioned the ongoing debate about whether booster shots are effective at all, saying that only people whose immune system is compromised should get a booster shot and their number is quite small.
The WHO has previously called for a global moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September due to the severe shortage of vaccines the poorer countries are facing, putting at-risk populations more vulnerable to Covid-19.
The Geneva-based health body, that wants to have 40% of the world vaccinated by the end of the year and 70 % by mid-2022, said booter shoots should be delayed to allow at least 10 % of people in every country in the world to be vaccinated.
More than half of the population in higher-income nations has already received at least one shot while the figure hovers just above 1% in low-income countries.
Due to the steep infections rate rise from the coronavirus Delta variant, the US announced last week its plans to make COVID-19 vaccine booster shots widely available starting on Sept. 20 after the White House previously rejected the WHO’s call, arguing it could support global vaccination efforts while delivering booster jabs to Americans.
White House’s Jen Psaki underlined that the US has already donated more doses than any other country while keeping enough supply so every American has access to a vaccine.
Canada, France and Germany have also already announced booster campaigns, while Israel dropped the eligibility age for a booster to 40 and included pregnant women after started giving third shot to those older than 60 on July 30.