- BBC News World
While dozens of countries around the world have barely managed to vaccinate just over 1% of their population against the coronavirus, there are already countries that are planning to administer a booster dose.
This idea has been questioned by the World Health Organization (WHO), which on Wednesday made a call to postpone any reinforcement at least until the end of September.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, said that this temporary suspension would allow at least 10% of the population in each country to be vaccinated.
Several countries, including Israel and Germany, have already announced plans to administer the booster doses, but Tedros warned that poorer countries are lagging behind in vaccination.
According to the WHO, low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses per 100 inhabitants due to lack of vaccines.
Tedros said that this situation needs to be changed and that most vaccines should be destined for lower-income countries.
“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant. But we cannot accept that countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines use more of it,” he said.
Reinforcements on the way
The WHO made this call at a time when it is trying to bridge the gap between high-income and low-income countries.
That institution I wanted 10% of the population of each country to be vaccinated by September, but it is unlikely that this goal can be achieved with current trends.
In countries like Haiti or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, no part of their populations has received two doses of the vaccine.
In Indonesia, which has seen an increase in infections and deaths in recent months – especially due to the Delta variant – only 7.9% of its population is fully vaccinated, according to records from the Our World in project. It dates from the University of Oxford.
Meanwhile, Israel began giving booster doses to people over 60 and Germany announced Tuesday that it would begin offering a third dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
In the United Kingdom, it is expected that from September the health authorities will begin to offer a reinforcement to millions of people considered as vulnerable population.
The United States has not announced a policy on booster vaccines, but the White House said Wednesday it has enough doses to distribute vaccines abroad while ensuring that Americans can be fully vaccinated.
“Definitely, we feel it is a false choice and we can do both“said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
This is not the first time that Tedros has asked wealthier nations to donate their vaccines to low-income countries.
Last May, he called on the wealthiest nations to postpone plans to give vaccinations to children and teens and donate those supplies instead.
Tedros urged countries to contribute more vaccines to the global Covax fair access scheme. However, several countries, including the United Kingdom, are going ahead with their plans to vaccinate children and adolescents.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.