WHO extends call for moratorium on Covid booster doses until year-end

The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, participates in a press conference organized by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, in the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on 3 July 2020.

Fabrice Coffrini | Swimming pool | Reuters

The World Health Organization has extended its call for a moratorium on Covid-19 booster doses until at least the end of the year.

The WHO had previously urged world leaders to hold off on booster doses until the end of September.

“There has been little change in the global situation since then, so I call for an extension of the moratorium until at least the end of the year to allow all countries to vaccinate at least 40% of their population,” he said. WHO director- General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing Wednesday.

About 5.5 billion doses of vaccine have been administered worldwide, but 80% have been given in high- and middle-income countries, according to the WHO.

“I will not be silent when the companies and countries that control the global vaccine supply think that the world’s poor should be satisfied with the rest,” Tedros said.

Nearly 90% of high-income countries have vaccinated at least 10% of their population, and 70% of high-income countries have vaccinated at least 40% of their population. “Not a single low-income country has reached both targets,” Tedros said. “It’s not his fault.”

“High-income countries have promised to donate more than 1 billion doses, but less than 15% of those doses have materialized,” Tedros said. “Producers have promised to give priority to COVAX countries and low-income countries.”

The Director-General said that the WHO had been calling for the equity of vaccines since the beginning of the spread of vaccines, and that it was not supposed to happen after richer countries were treated.

“We don’t want any more promises, we just want the vaccines,” Tedros said. “We have the tools, it’s clear what needs to happen. Now is the time for true leadership, not empty promises.”

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