‘Vaccine Injustice’ — W.H.O. Scolds Countries Offering Coronavirus Booster Shots

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

World Health Organization (W.H.O.) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday urged the international community to delay rollouts of Chinese coronavirus booster shots in an effort to save the global vaccine supply for poorer nations.

Tedros encouraged the world to participate in a “two-month moratorium” on administering booster shots of Chinese coronavirus vaccines while speaking to reporters during a joint press conference with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto in Budapest, Hungary, on August 23.

The W.H.O. leader called on wealthy nations “to share what can be used for boosters with other countries so (they) can increase their first and second vaccination coverage,” according to the Associated Press (AP).

Tedros revealed on Monday that “of the 4.8 billion [Chinese coronavirus] vaccine doses delivered to date globally, 75 percent have gone to only 10 countries while vaccine coverage in Africa is at less than 2 percent.”

A booster shot is an additional dose of a vaccine that a person receives after completing the recommended full dosage of an inoculation. Several nations worldwide, including the U.S., have either already begun offering booster shots of Chinese coronavirus vaccines or announced plans to do so in the near future.

Tedros on Monday argued that continued “vaccine injustice” or disparity between nations’ coronavirus inoculation rates, could lead to an increased risk of more contagious strains of the Chinese coronavirus emerging.

“The virus will get the chance to circulate in countries with low vaccination coverage, and the delta variant could evolve to become more virulent, and at the same time more potent variants could also emerge,” he said, referring to the Delta variant of the Chinese coronavirus, a strain first detected in India earlier this year.

“In addition, there is a debate about whether booster shots are effective at all,” Tedros added on Monday as he argued against additional doses of the Chinese coronavirus vaccine.

An auto rickshaw driver receives a jab of CoviShield vaccine against the coronavirus during a free vaccination drive for the drivers in Bangalore on August 25, 2021. (MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP via Getty)

The W.H.O., which is the official health body of the United Nations (U.N.), highlighted this argument against booster shots on August 4, when Tedros first asked high-income countries not to offer additional shots of Chinese coronavirus vaccines to their populations beyond the recommended dosage.

“[S]o far there is no evidence that a booster dose adds immune benefits to people who already have the full vaccination course,” U.N. News reported on August 4, citing remarks by Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), at a W.H.O. press conference earlier that same day.

Tedros called 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,” during the same virtual press briefing, which was hosted at the U.N. headquarters in New York City.


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