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Coronavirus Vaccines

WHO condemns countries administering Covid booster shots during global shortage

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/Marco Verch

The World Health Organisation has slammed the concept of booster shots while millions are yet to receive a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. The WHO adds that there is as yet no scientific evidence that such boosters are necessary and administering them is immoral when so many countries are struggling with vaccine shortages.

A number of countries, including the US and Israel, plan to offer fully vaccinated citizens a third, or booster, dose. But Mike Ryan, the WHO’s emergency director, has questioned the ethics of such a policy.

“We’re planning to hand out extra life jackets to people who already have life jackets, while we’re leaving other people to drown without a single life jacket. The fundamental, ethical reality is we’re handing out second life jackets while leaving millions and millions of people without anything to protect them.”

Ryan’s statement echoes the words of WHO boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who just weeks ago called for a moratorium on booster doses in order to address the huge vaccine disparity between rich and poor nations. However, that call appears to have fallen on deaf ears in some countries as the Delta variant takes hold.

The Bangkok Post reports that the US government says it will provide booster shots to all citizens from September 20. People who’ve already received 2 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine will be eligible for a third 8 months after receiving the second. The administration of booster shots is already underway in Israel, with people over the age of 50 prioritised initially. The UK has not yet confirmed its policy but is considering a rollout of booster shots from the autumn.

Meanwhile, Tedros has slammed the makers of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, following reports that doses manufactured in South Africa are being shipped to Europe.

“We urge J&J to urgently prioritise distribution of their vaccines to Africa before considering supplies to rich countries that already have sufficient access. Vaccine injustice is a shame on all humanity and if we don’t tackle it together, we will prolong the acute stage of this pandemic for years when it could be over in a matter of months.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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