World Health Organization officials have once again advised wealthy nations against Covid vaccine booster distribution in a bid to make shots available for poorer countries who are far behind on the required immunization rates.
The unavailability of adequate scientific information to back the widespread booster shots administration has led the WHO to kick against the unnecessary use of boosters, the Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing on Tuesday, according to CNBC.
According to the Director, the organization has worked to ensure that vaccine inequities are addressed, by asking world leaders to impose a moratorium on third doses through the end of the year so as to enable poorer countries have access to enough doses.
“There are countries with less than 2% vaccination coverage, most of them in Africa, who are not even getting their first and second dose. And starting with boosters, especially giving it to healthy populations, is really not right,” the Director said.
According to the officials, less than 3.5% of the eligible population in Africa has been fully vaccinated. The organisation has maintained its approval, however, for the administration of booster doses for the immunocompromised, but said Africa is nowhere close to the director-general’s benchmark of a successful 10% vaccination rate in every country by the end of the year.
In the United States, however, booster vaccinations have begun as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that nearly 54% of the population has been fully vaccinated and more than 1.8 million boosters have already been administered.
The special envoy to the African Union for Covid-19, Strive Masiyiwa, said that although several nations have pledged to donate hundreds of millions of vaccine doses to the developing countries, trade restrictions put in place have hindered low-income nations from buying vaccines on their own. Adding that the reversal of these restrictions would help facilitate increased vaccinations across Africa.
“These restrictions are even more urgent for us today than intellectual property because the intellectual property doesn’t deliver a vaccine to us tomorrow,” Masiyiwa added.