World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has again called on rich countries with large supplies of coronavirus vaccines to hold off booster shots until 2022 to ensure that poorer countries have more access to the vaccine.
“A month ago, I called for a global moratorium on booster doses, at least until the end of September to prioritize vaccinating the most at-risk people around the world who are yet to receive their first dose. There has been little change in the global situation since then, Tedros said at a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday.
Tedros added that he received a clear support message from the health ministers at a meeting of the influential Group of 20 countries, and they have committed to help hit the target to vaccinate at least 40% of the population of every country worldwide.
“So today, I’m calling for an extension of the moratorium until at least the end of the year to enable every country to vaccinate at least 40% of its population,” Tedros added.
Tedros said that about 80% of the 5.5 billion vaccines doses that have been administered globally went to high-income countries.
Tedros also said he was “appalled” that vaccine manufacturers have said they have enough supply to provide for the demands of the rich countries and the poor countries.
“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,” Tedros said.
Tedros also noted that of the one billion vaccine doses the rich countries have offered to donate, less than 15% “materialized.”
“We don’t want any more promises. We just want the vaccines,” Tedros said.
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