The World Health Organization has called for countries to continue to hold off on administering second dozes of Covid-19 vaccines for at least until the end of the year.
Earlier this year, the WHO had urged governments from around the world to stop administering booster shots of the vaccine until the end of September to ensure that poorer countries around the world could be supplied with enough vaccines for first dozes.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general said that there has been little change in the global vaccine situation, and hence he was calling for an extension of the previous moratorium till the end of 2021. And add that they want to ensure that every country can vaccinate at least 40 percent of its population before the moratorium is lifted.
According to the WHO, around 5.5 billion doses of vaccines have been administered around the world, but over 80 percent of people who have been inoculated are from rich countries. At least 10 percent of the population in high-income countries have been inoculated, with some completing inoculation for more than 40 percent of their population.
The director-general said that none of the low-income countries have reached their designated target due to low vaccine availability. Out of the 1 billion doses of vaccine high-income countries promised to donate to low-income countries, only 15 percent have been shipped.
Despite promises from manufacturers to prioritize low-income countries, there has been growing vaccine inequality.
Ghebreyesus said that the WHO has been pushing for vaccine equity right from the beginning, and said it doesn’t need any more promises, but solid action. Earlier in the year, the WHO had said that clinical evidence suggests that booster shots of the covid vaccines aren’t necessary to prevent severe cases of Covid-19.
While the first dose was the key to the survival of the severely vulnerable in lower-income countries. Without the first dose, the elderly and frontline health workers were most likely to get severe instances of Covid-19, which may even lead to death.
In a press briefing on Sep 1, Mike Ryan, the executive director for WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme had said that vaccinating people for the second time (a third doze after the first two rounds) in rich countries is similar to give a person an extra life jacket, when they already have one.