Thursday September 09, 2021

WHO Chief Urges Halt to COVID Booster Shots

GENEVA: Rich countries with large supplies of coronavirus vaccines should refrain from offering booster shots through the end of the year and make the doses available for poorer countries, the head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday, doubling down on an earlier appeal for a “moratorium” on boosters that has largely been ignored.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said he was “appalled” after hearing comments Tuesday from a top association of pharmaceutical manufacturers that vaccine supplies are high enough to allow for both booster shots for people in well-supplied countries and first jabs in poorer countries that face shortages. He said that’s already been the case.

“I will not stay silent when companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers,” he told a news conference. “Because manufacturers have prioritized or been legally obliged to fulfill bilateral deals with rich countries willing to pay top dollar, low income countries have been deprived of the tools to protect their people.”

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