Defer booster jabs till end of year, WHO urges rich states

Published September 9, 2021
In this file photo a syringe is filled with a first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccination clinic at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA in Los Angeles on August 7. — AFP/File
In this file photo a syringe is filled with a first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccination clinic at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA in Los Angeles on August 7. — AFP/File

GENEVA: The World Health Organisation called on Wednesday for countries to avoid giving out extra Covid jabs until year-end, pointing to the millions worldwide who have yet to receive a single dose.

“I will not stay silent when the companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists. Speaking from WHO’s headquarters in Geneva, Tedros urged wealthy countries and vaccine makers to prioritise getting the first jabs to health workers and vulnerable populations in poorer nations over boosters.

“We do not want to see widespread use of boosters for healthy people who are fully vaccinated,” he said. The WHO called last month for a moratorium on Covid-19 vaccine booster shots until the end of September to address the drastic inequity in dose distribution between rich and poor nations.

But Tedros acknowledged on Wednesday that there had “been little change in the global situations since then.

“So today I am calling for an extension of the moratorium until at least the end of the year,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2021

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