Stop giving boosters until more parts of the world are vaccinated, says WHO | World Weekly
The World Health Organization’s latest intervention comes as a number of countries have begun introducing or considering booster doses. Israel began giving the third shots last month, and France, Germany and the United Arab Emirates have all announced plans to start a booster programme. Others, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, are still considering it. The United States has bought additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine in preparation but has not made any decision on whether or not to start offering it.
The science about whether reinforcers are required is still uncertain. “The evidence is developing, it is moving,” Kate O’Brien, the WHO’s director of vaccinations, told reporters at the conference. “We don’t have a full set of evidence on whether or not this is necessary.”
Pfizer released data last month indicating that the third shot provided strong additional protection against the delta variant. But current vaccine regimens have been shown to provide good protection against all major variables of concern.
However, the WHO wants to refocus attention on vaccinating a larger proportion of the world before countries consider any type of vaccination. The agency aims to vaccinate 40% of the world’s population by the end of the year, and 70% by mid-2022.
Tedros, who has urged vaccine producers to focus on donating to Covax, the scheme set up to distribute vaccines to poor countries. He said last week that the scheme needs an infusion of huge funds to achieve its goals.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the WHO had made a “wrong choice,” telling the AP that the United States would have enough vaccines to donate to poor countries while also being able to roll out boosters if needed.