Sep 8, 2021 - Health

WHO director calls for countries to halt booster shots through end of year

Countries with a COVID-19 vaccination rate lower than 10%
Data: Our World in Data. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The World Health Organization on Wednesday doubled down on calls for wealthy countries with large supplies of coronavirus vaccines to forgo booster shots through the end of the year.

The big picture: The WHO director's comments come as the Biden administration weighs offering COVID booster shots later this month, and as a global vaccine disparity persists.

  • WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus previously called for a moratorium on booster shots through the end of September, the Associated Press reports.
  • At the current pace of vaccinations, low-income countries would need to increase their daily vaccination rate by nearly 19 times to reach 40% coverage by the end of 2021, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

What they're saying: "I will not stay silent when companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers," Tedros said during a Wednesday news conference.

  • Tedros also said he was "appalled" after the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association indicated that wealthy nations now have enough doses to allow for both booster shots and vaccinations in countries with shortages.
  • "In reality, manufacturers and high-income countries have long had the capacity to not only vaccinate their own priority groups, but to simultaneously support the vaccination of those same groups in all countries," he said.

Go deeper: The global vaccine failure

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