World Health Organization Calls for COVID Vaccine Booster Moratorium until September

The head of the World Health Organization is working to increase vaccination rates in countries with minimal access before booster shots for COVID are administered globally

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A medical professional giving a vaccine shot. Photo: Getty

The head of the World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on administering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots until at least the end of September in order to ensure more initial doses are available to countries with minimal access.

During a briefing on Wednesday, director-general of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the appeal to the "wealthiest countries," explaining that more than 80% of the 4 billion vaccines administered around the world have gone to high and upper-middle-income countries.

"I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant," Ghebreyesus said. "But we cannot — and we should not — accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it, while the world's most vulnerable people remain unprotected."

Ghebreyesus added that high-income countries have administered nearly 100 doses of coronavirus vaccines for every 100 people on average, while low-income countries have only administered about 1.5 doses per 100 people. He then called on influencers across the world to support the moratorium, saying, "we need everyone's cooperation."

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"We can only defeat it with a comprehensive approach of vaccines in combination with the proven public health and social measures that we know work," Ghebreyesus ended the briefing.

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Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a joint statement saying that fully vaccinated Americans "do not need" a COVID-19 booster shot despite new variants.

"People who are fully vaccinated are protected from severe disease and death, including from the variants currently circulating in the country such as Delta," the statement noted. "People who are not vaccinated remain at risk. Virtually all COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are among those who are unvaccinated."

The statement added, however, that the "FDA, CDC, and NIH are engaged in a science-based, rigorous process to consider whether or when a booster might be necessary." If needed, the organizations said they would base future judgments on "account laboratory data, clinical trial data, and cohort data."

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