The most recent intervention by WHO has occurred as a number of countries have begun to introduce booster vaccines or are considering doing so. Israel began its third vaccinations last month, and France, Germany and the UAE announced plans to begin a revaccination program. Others, like the UK and the US, are still considering it. The US has purchased additional doses of Pfizer vaccine in preparation, but has yet to make any decisions on whether to begin introducing them.
The science of whether boosters are needed is still unclear. “The evidence is evolving, it is moving,” Kate O’Brien, WHO’s director of immunization, told reporters at the conference. “We do not have a complete set of evidence of whether this is necessary or not.”
Last month, Pfizer released data showing that the third prick provided strong additional protection against the delta variant. But current vaccination regimens have been shown to provide good protection against all major problematic options.
However, WHO wants to refocus attention on vaccinating most of the world’s population before countries consider any additional vaccinations. The agency has set a goal to vaccinate 40% of the world’s population by the end of the year and 70% by mid-2022.
“We urgently need to phase out most vaccines destined for high-income countries for most vaccines destined for low-income countries,” Tedros said, urging vaccine manufacturers to focus on donating to Covax, a scheme set up to distribute vaccines. to poorer countries. He said last week that the scheme needs a massive infusion of funds to achieve its goals.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said WHO made a “wrong choice” telling AP that the US would have enough vaccines to donate to poorer countries, and the ability to deploy boosters if needed.