WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday said that the global body is calling for a moratorium on booster Covid-19 vaccine shots until the end of September to ensure equitable access to vaccines. The move was to enable that at least 10% of the population of every country was vaccinated, WHO Director-General Tedros said.
Addressing a press briefing on Wednesday, Tedros said, “WHO is calling for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September to enable at least 10 per cent of the population of every country to be vaccinated. To make that happen, we need everyone’s cooperation, especially the handful of countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines.”
“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant. But we cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it,” Tedros added.
High-income countries administered around 50 doses for every 100 people in May, and that number had since doubled, according to WHO. Low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people, due to lack of supply.
“We need an urgent reversal, from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries, to the majority going to low-income countries,” said Tedros.
A small group of nations, including some in Europe, are planning additional shots for the fully inoculated even as Covid-19 continues to infect and kill at alarming rates across the Global South, where vaccination levels remain “catastrophically low”, The Washington Post reported.
The report stated that the decision by wealthy countries to give booster shots to their own people rather than donating those doses to poorer countries is controversial. Health experts have called this move immoral.
Speaking during the presser on Wednesday, the WHO chief also called on global personalities and leaders from all walks of life to support the moratorium call. “We call on everyone with influence—#Olympics athletes, investors, business leaders, faith leaders, and every individual in their own family and community—to support our call for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September,” he said.
Tedro said the world must all remember that vaccines are not the only tool to combat the pandemic. “Indeed, there is no single tool that will defeat this pandemic. We can only defeat it with a comprehensive approach of Syringe in combination with the proven public health & social measures that we know work.”
He further called on vaccine producers to prioritise COVAX and Group of 20 nations to heed his call for moratorium on booster shots till September.
Some countries have begun to use or started weighing on the need for booster doses. Germany on Monday said that it will in September start to offer a booster shot to vulnerable people. The United Arab Emirates will also start providing a booster shot to all fully vaccinated people considered at high risk, three months after their second vaccine dose, and six months for others. Last week, Israeli President Isaac Herzog received a third shot of coronavirus vaccine, kicking off a campaign to give booster doses to people aged over 60 in the country.
Meanwhile,India on Wednesday reported 42,625 new Covid-19 cases, 36,668 recoveries and 562 deaths in 24 hours, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
An increase of 12,076 cases was recorded in the daily infections since Tuesday when 30,549 new cases were reported. With this, the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases has reached 3,17,69,132 including 3,09,33,022 discharges and 4,25,757 deaths. The number of active cases has gone up to 4,10,353, accounting for 1.29 per cent of the total number of cases.
According to the health ministry, the daily positivity rate is at 2.31 per cent, the weekly positivity rate at 2.36 per cent, and the recovery is at 97.37 per cent. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a total of 47,31,42,307 samples have been tested for Covid-19 till now of which 18,47,518 were tested in the last 24 hours.
WITH AGENCY INPUTS