The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday called on the world to pause on the distribution of coronavirus booster shots, contending that wealthier countries must first address “at risk people around the world who are yet to receive their first dose.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who called for a moratorium on booster shots last month, said he has seen “little change in the global situation since then” and added that “the inequitable distribution of life-saving tools is driving a two-track pandemic.”
As such, Tedros is asking wealthy countries to wait until the new year to begin giving booster shots to “healthy people who are fully vaccinated.”
“We don’t want any more promises … We just want the vaccines,” he said.
“Third doses may be necessary for the most at-risk populations where there is evidence of waning immunity,” Tedros said. “But for now, we do not want to see widespread use of boosters for healthy people.”
His position follows the plea he made last month, calling for a “two-month moratorium” on vaccine booster shots, citing “vaccine injustice.”
“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 at the time.
“In addition, there is a debate about whether booster shots are effective at all,” Tedros added.
Last month, President Biden indicated he and Dr. Anthony Fauci had been discussing coronavirus booster shots for Americans in five-month increments.
“The question raised is should it be shorter than eight months? Should it be as little as five months? That’s being discussed. I spoke with Dr. Fauci this morning about that,” Biden said last month.
Indeed, Fauci advocated for additional shots last month as well, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending them for immunocompromised individuals.
“Right now, if we get boosters, you know, we’re talking about boosters. We already implemented boosters for the immune-compromised,” Fauci said. “It’s clear we want to make sure we get people, if possible, to get the boost from the original vaccine that they had.”