World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference held by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid COVID-19 on July 3, 2020 at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland – Outbreak is organized.
Fabrice Coffrini | Swimming pool | Reuters
The World Health Organization again called on world leaders to postpone the administration of Covid-19 boosters for at least another month to allow poorer nations to vaccinate more of their population with first doses.
More than 5 billion Covid vaccine syringes have been given worldwide, 75% of which were given in just 10 countries, according to the WHO.
“That is why I have called for a moratorium on boosters, at least until the end of this month, so that the countries that are furthest behind can catch up,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a briefing on Wednesday.
The director of the global health agency said that some high-income countries have adult vaccination rates of 50%, while low-income countries, including many in Africa, still have adult vaccination rates of less than 2%. The U.S. has fully vaccinated more than 52% of its population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Extra doses may be required for people with compromised immune systems or immunity drops, “but right now we don’t want widespread use of boosters in healthy people who are fully vaccinated,” Tedros said.
Nearly 1 million Covid-19 vaccine booster shots have been given in the U.S. since health officials approved additional shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to people with compromised immune systems on Aug. 12, according to the CDC.
President Joe Biden said the US plans to distribute Covid booster vaccinations widely starting the week of September 20, pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration and CDC scientists.