Wait until the end of September to administer third shots, says WHO
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Wait until the end of September to administer third shots, says WHO

Credit: Belga

Western countries should wait until at least the end of September to start administering third shots, so that more vaccines are available for poorer countries, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“We urgently need to turn things around: from a majority of vaccines for rich countries to a majority for poor countries,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference on Wednesday.

The doses that countries want to use for a third shot should be made available to countries that have only been able to vaccinate a limited proportion of the population, according to him.

For months, Tedros has been denouncing vaccination inequality in the world: in Nigeria, for example, barely 1% of the population has already had its first shot.

To make sure that poorer countries also get the chance to vaccinate their population before booster shots start being administered, “we need everyone’s cooperation, especially the handful of countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines.”

In July, Ghebreyesus already stated that the global failure to share vaccines, tests, and treatments – including oxygen – is fuelling a two-track pandemic.

The inequality in the production, distribution and administering of vaccines against the coronavirus shows that the pandemic is a test that the world is failing, according to him.

Ghebreyesus stressed that this is “not just a moral outrage,” but also epidemiologically and economically self-defeating. “None of us is safe until all of us are safe.”