WHO calls for halt in COVID-19 boosters until 2022

The agency called for the moratorium pointing out millions worldwide have not received a single dose.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for a moratorium on the widespread distribution of COVID-19 booster shots until the end of the year. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had previously called for a “moratorium” on booster shots through the end of September. However, wealthy nations such as Israel, the United Kingdom, Denmark and the United States have begun or are considering offering third doses to their most vulnerable citizens, such as the elderly or those with compromised immune systems. “There has been little change in the global situation since then, so today I am calling for an extension of the moratorium until at least the end of the year to enable every country to vaccinate at least 40% of its population,” said Tedros in a briefing on Wednesday.

"I will not stay silent when the companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world's poor should be satisfied with leftovers," added Tedros. According to the WHO, about 80 percent of the 5.5 billion vaccines doses that have been administered globally went to higher income countries. He also noted that high-income countries had previously promised to donate more than 1 billion doses, but less than 15% of those doses have been materialized. “Manufacturers have promised to prioritize COVAX and low-income countries.” The WHO’s chief has been asking for vaccination equity since the beginning of the vaccine rollout and it was not expected to happen after the richest countries were taken care of. Adding "We don't want any more promises; we just want the vaccines."