According to the World Health Organization, countries should hold off on administering second doses of Covid-19 vaccines until the end of the year.
Earlier this year, the WHO urged governments worldwide to stop giving booster shots of the vaccine until the end of September so that poorer countries could have enough vaccines for the first doses.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, stated that there had been little change in the global vaccine situation, and therefore a moratorium should be extended to the end of 2021. Before the suspension is lifted, they want to ensure that every country can vaccinate at least 40 percent of its population.
Globally, vaccines have been administered to more than 5.5 billion people, but over 80 percent of people who have been vaccinated come from rich countries. In high-income countries, at least 10 percent of the population has been immunized, with some countries immunizing more than 40 percent of their people.
Due to low vaccine availability, none of the low-income countries reached their designated targets, according to the director-general. Only 15 percent of the 1 billion doses of vaccine promised by high-income countries to low-income countries have been shipped.
Despite promises from manufacturers to prioritize low-income countries, vaccine inequality has grown.
Ghebreyesus said that the WHO has been pushing for vaccine equity since the beginning and that it does not need more promises but concrete actions. Earlier in the year, the WHO had said that clinical evidence suggests that booster shots of the covid vaccines aren’t necessary to prevent severe cases of Covid-19.
In lower-income countries, the first dose was crucial to survival. Covid-19 is most likely to cause severe illness in the elderly and frontline health workers without the first dose.
In a press briefing on Sep 1, WHO’s Health Emergencies Program executive director Mike Ryan said that vaccinating people a third time (a third dose after the first two) is like giving someone an extra life jacket if they already have one.