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WHO Calls For ‘Moratorium’ On COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters Until At Least September-End To Address Vaccination Disparity

WHO has called for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September, to enable at least 10 per cent of the population of every country to be vaccinated against COVID-19

WHO Calls For 'Moratorium' On COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters Until At Least September-End To Address Vaccination Disparity
Highlights
  • High-income countries have administered almost 100 doses/100 people: WHO
  • Low-income countries have administered 1.5 doses for every 100 people: WHO
  • So far, over 4 billion COVID vaccine doses have been administered globally

United Nations/Geneva: The WHO on Wednesday (August 4) called for a “moratorium” on booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine until at least the end of September, noting with concern the disparity in vaccination levels in low and high-income countries. World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news conference in Geneva that while high-income countries have now administered almost 100 doses for every 100 people, low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people, due to lack of supply.

Also Read: Need Effective Mechanism To Address Global COVID Vaccine Inequity: India In UN Security Council

We need an urgent reversal, from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries, to the majority going to low-income countries, he said.

“Accordingly, WHO is calling for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September, to enable at least 10 per cent of the population of every country to be vaccinated,” the WHO chief said.

WHO urged ‘everyone with influence’ — Olympic athletes, investors, business leaders, faith leaders, and every individual in their own family and community — to support its call for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September.

Mr Ghebreyesus said ensuring increased vaccination coverage in low-income countries requires everyone’s cooperation, especially the handful of countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines.

Also Read: 4 More Indian Pharma Firms Expected To Start COVID Vaccine Production By October-November: Union Health Minister

So far, more than four billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally and over 80 per cent have gone to high- and upper-middle income countries, even though they account for less than half of the world population.

And yet even while hundreds of millions of people are still waiting for their first dose, some rich countries are moving towards booster doses, Mr Ghebreyesus said.

Emphasising that while he understands the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant, the WHO chief said,

We cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it, the world’s most vulnerable people remain unprotected.

Also Read: India’s Gender Inequity In COVID-19 Vaccination Narrows

Mr Ghebreyesus had in late May called for global support for a ‘sprint to September’, to enable every country to vaccinate at least 10 per cent of its population by the end of September.

We’re now more than halfway to that target date, but we’re not on track.

Calling on vaccine producers to prioritise the vaccine distribution alliance COVAX, Ghebreyesus underscored that vaccines are not the only tool to defeat the pandemic.

Indeed, there is no single tool that will defeat this pandemic. 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, he said.

Also Read: Monthly Production Capacity Of Covishield Projected To Increase To 120 Million Doses, Covaxin To 58 Million Doses: Government

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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