World Health Organization Calls For Moratorium On Booster Shots

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for a moratorium on COVID-19 booster shots in an effort to get more people around the world vaccinated.

As The New York Times reported, the organization called for the moratorium “until the end of September, so that vaccine supplies can be focused on helping all countries vaccinate at least 10 percent of their populations. The agency made its appeal to the world’s wealthiest nations to address the wide disparities in vaccination rates around the world.”

“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant,” WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing. “But we cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it, while the world’s most vulnerable people remain unprotected.”

“We need an urgent reversal, from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries, to the majority going to low-income countries,” Ghebreyesus added. “Accordingly, WHO is calling for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September, to enable at least 10% of the population of every country to be vaccinated.”

“The G20 has a vital leadership role to play, as the countries that are the biggest producers, the biggest consumers and the biggest donors of COVID-19 vaccines. It’s no understatement to say that the course of the pandemic depends on the leadership of the G20 countries,” the director general noted.

He added that “High-income countries have now administered almost 100 doses for every 100 people. Meanwhile, low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people, due to lack of supply.”

He also called on “everyone with influence — Olympic athletes, investors, business leaders, faith leaders, and every individual in their own family and community” to get behind the call for a moratorium.

Experts and officials have said that COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are not yet needed. In July, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a joint statement on the topic of booster shots.

They said:

Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time. FDA, CDC, and NIH are engaged in a science-based, rigorous process to consider whether or when a booster might be necessary. This process takes into account laboratory data, clinical trial data, and cohort data – which can include data from specific pharmaceutical companies, but does not rely on those data exclusively. We continue to review any new data as it becomes available and will keep the public informed. We are prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates that they are needed.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden said that the United States had delivered 110 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to 65 countries.

As reported by NPR, there were some issues with the administration’s vaccine distribution effort. “Biden first announced that the U.S. would distribute 80 million doses to countries in need by the end of June, only later to say the goal had simply been to ‘allocate’ them by the end of June.”

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