The United States of America, Germany and France have rejected the World Health Organisation's appeal for a moratorium on COVID-19 vaccine booster jabs. While the US has said, "we don't need to make that choice", France and Germany's plan to roll out their third round of vaccines from September remain unchanged.
Last month Israel began rolling out booster shots for people over the age of 60.
Earlier, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had urged the countries and companies controlling the supply of doses to prioritise addressing the 'drastic' inequity in vaccine distribution between rich and poor nations.
Currently, countries categorised as high income by the World Bank, have administered 100 doses per 100 people, whereas the figure remained at 1.5 doses for every 100 people in 29 low-income countries.
#HealthWorkers, older people & other at-risk groups need #COVID19 vaccines now. @WHO is calling for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September, to enable at least 10% of the population of every country to be vaccinated. #VaccinEquity pic.twitter.com/6AwkppgbJj
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) August 4, 2021
But the US has said that it was unnecessary to make the choice because they are 'capable of doing both'. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, "We definitely feel that it's a false choice and we can do both." She said the US has enough supply to meet the demand if the FDA decides that boosters are recommended for a certain portion of the population. She was, however, quick to add that the US has donated more coronavirus vaccines than any other country and was asking others to step up efforts as well. Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron took to Instagram on Thursday to announce that a third dose will likely be necessary, immediately, for the most vulnerable and the elderly and the drive will be rolled out from September.
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Similarly, Germany intends to give boosters to the immunocompromised patients, the very elderly and nursing home residents from September, the health ministry announced on 2 August.
Tedros had told a press conference that while he understood that countries wanted to protect their citizens from the more transmissible Delta variant of the virus, "but we cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it, while the world's most vulnerable people remain unprotected," he said.
The WHO wants every country to have vaccinated at least 10 percent of its population by the end of September; at least 40 percent by the end of this year, and 70 percent by the middle of 2022.
With inputs from agencies