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WHO calls for moratorium on Covid vaccine boosters at least through September

A paramedic prepares doses of AstraZeneca vaccine for patients at a walk-in COVID-19 clinic inside a Buddhist temple in the Smithfield suburb of Sydney on August 4, 2021.

Saeed Khan | AFP | Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Wednesday called for a moratorium on Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, citing vaccine inequity around the world.

The agency said the moratorium should last at least two months, to give the world a chance to meet the director general’s goal of vaccinating 10% of the population of every country by the end of September.

“We need an urgent reversal from the majority of vaccines going to high income countries, to the majority going to low income countries,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The moratorium is part of the Ghebreyesus’ plan to vaccinate 40% of the world by December, according to his senior advisor, Dr. Bruce Aylward.

“The big picture here is as a policy not to be moving forward with boosters until we get the whole world at a point where the older populations, people with comorbidities, people who are working at the frontlines, are all protected to the degree possible with vaccines,” Aylward said.

The duration of the moratorium could be extended if vaccine rates in countries with low vaccination rates do not increase.

“Right now, if you look at how vaccines are being used globally, the uptake rate by high income countries, upper middle income countries, is absorbing too much of the global supply for the lowest income countries,” Aylward said.


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