WHO Head Reiterates Call for Two-Month COVID-19 Booster Moratorium

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is concerned booster shots could limit supply for countries struggling to get first and second vaccine doses.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adlhanom Ghebreyesus stated to reporters in Budapest, Hungary on August 23rd, 2021 that he wanted countries considering third vaccine doses “to share what can be used for boosters with other countries so [they] can increase their first and second vaccination coverage,” according to a report from the Associated Press.

Earlier in August, Adlhanom Ghebreyesus had called for a two-month moratorium on COVID-19 booster shots (1).

Various countries, including the United States and Israel, have either begun offering or plan to offer third vaccine doses. Hungary recently became the first European Union member state to allow residents to sign up for a booster shot. Currently, more than 187,000 Hungarian residents have received the booster.

Vaccine inequality was a point of emphasis for Adlhanom Ghebreyesus. He stated that while 4.8 billion vaccine doses have been delivered globally, 75% of these shots have gone to just 10 countries. Conversely, vaccine coverage across Africa is at less than 2%.

“The virus will get the chance to circulate in countries with low vaccination coverage, and the delta variant could evolve to become more virulent, and at the same time more potent variants could also emerge,” said Adlhanom Ghebreyesus in the news report.

Source: Associated Press

1. Branswell, Helen. WHO calls for a temporary moratorium on administering booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines. STAT, Aug 4. 2021, retrieved from https://www.statnews.com/2021/08/04/who-calls-for-a-temporary-moratorium-on-administering-booster-shots-of-covid-19-vaccines/