WHO asks richer countries to hold off on third COVID doses

third COVID doses, richer countries COVID
© Manoej Paateel

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO leader, asked richer countries to wait before giving third COVID jabs – as the Global South is yet to hit 10% double-vaccinated, due to low vaccine supply

On Wednesday (4 August), Dr Tedros asked richer countries in the Global North to hold off on administering their third COVID doses, also known as booster jabs.

“We need an urgent reversal from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries, to the majority going to low income countries,” said Dr Ghebreyesus, at a press briefing.

“We need an urgent reversal”

He explained that countries across the Global South were struggling to attain 10% fully vaccinated, leaving these places open to huge devastation and further variants. If richer countries have excess supplies or resources, they should direct them to bring up the global percentage of vaccination.

Currently, Israel and the UK are poised to begin delivering third COVID doses to their populations.

A report by the Institute for Government and Wellcome Trust, collating the perspectives of several medical experts, said that the Global South is still waiting to face the “deadliest stage of the pandemic” – as it lacks access to COVID vaccines. Some countries are yet to hit 1% vaccinated, as they are effectively banned from creating their own generic vaccines due to intellectual property laws.

“deadliest stage of the pandemic”

Tom Sasse at the Institute for Government (IfG), author of the document, said: “The next few months will be crucial. The world needs to take urgent action to avoid repeated India-style outbreaks.”

At the beginning of vaccine development, academics and policy-makers expressed fears about which countries would be able to afford the eventual vaccine.

Rachel Thrasher, Research Fellow at the Global Development Policy Center in Boston, explains that further vaccine-manufacturing and buying capacities could be addressed “through accessing unused special drawing rights at the IMF to finance vaccine production capacity.”

Currently, the WHO hope to have the world 70% vaccinated by mid-2022.


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