Geneva: Expressing concern over the disparity in vaccination levels in low and high-income countries, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday called for a “moratorium” on booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine until at least the end of September.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said while the high-income countries have now administered almost 100 doses for every 100 people, the low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people, due to lack of supply.
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“We need an urgent reversal, from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries, to the majority going to low-income countries,” PTI quoted Ghebreyesus as saying.
Ghebreyesus said the WHO, accordingly, is calling for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September to enable at least 10 percent of the population of every country to be vaccinated.
The WHO also urged everyone with influence, including Olympic athletes, investors, business leaders, faith leaders, and every individual in their own family and community, to support its call for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September.
Stating that ensuring increased vaccination coverage in the low-income countries requires everyone’s cooperation, especially the handful of countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines, the WHO chief said even while hundreds of millions of people are still waiting for their first dose, some rich countries are moving towards booster doses.
Ghebreyesus emphasised he understands the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant.
“We cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it, the world’s most vulnerable people remain unprotected,” he said at a press conference in Geneva.
Ghebreyesus called on the vaccine producers to prioritise the vaccine distribution alliance COVAX.
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Underscoring that vaccines are not the only tool to defeat the pandemic, the WHO chief said: Indeed, there is no single tool that will defeat this pandemic. We can only defeat it with a comprehensive approach of vaccines in combination with the proven public health and social measures that we know work.”
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