Moratorium on booster shots needed to address global vaccine inequity

Wealthier countries asked to delay boosters so developing world can increase vaccinations

The World Health Organization (WHO) calls on rich countries like Canada to delay COVID-19 booster shots until increased vaccine supplies reach the developing world.

The WHO says there’s not enough evidence yet to even support the idea that giving booster shots to people who have already received two vaccine doses is effective.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says wealthier countries have administered about 100 doses of coronavirus vaccines for every 100 people on average, while low-income countries have provided only about 1.5 doses per 100 people.

Tedros called for a moratorium until at least the end of September to enable at least 10 per cent of every country’s population to be vaccinated.

“We cannot 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,” said Tedros.

Some countries, like Israel, France, Germany have already started administering boosters.

US White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the Biden administration “definitely feel that it’s a false choice and we can do both.”

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Canada’s chief public health officer has said there’s “not enough data” to support booster shots.

Dr. Theresa Tam told reporters last week that the timing isn’t right.

“There’s not enough data to suggest that in Canada we would go into boosting as of yet,” she said. “But it is something that we’re watching very carefully.”