WHO calls for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September

WORLD

CNN 04 August, 2021 - 11:22am 125 views

"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. To make that happen, we need everyone's cooperation, especially the handful of countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines," he said.

"Even while hundreds of millions of people are still waiting for their first dose, some rich countries are moving towards booster doses," added Tedros. "So far more than 4 billion vaccine doses have been administered globally. More than 80% have gone to high and upper middle income countries, even though they account for less than half of the world's population."

Germany, the UK, and Israel have all announced plans to provide booster shots for certain vulnerable populations.

While Tedros said he understood the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant, "we cannot and we should not 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."

In May, Tedros called for global support to enable countries to vaccinate at least 10% of their populations by September. He said that although it's more than halfway to the target date, the world is not on track.

When his challenge was issued, high income countries had administered around 50 doses for every 100 people, Tedros said.

Since then, the number has doubled, with high income countries having now administered almost 100 doses for every 100 people, while low income countries have been able to administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people due to lack of supply.

"We need an urgent reversal from the majority of vaccines going to high income countries to the majority going to low income countries," Tedros said.

Tedros called upon the G20 leaders to make concrete commitments to support WHO's global vaccination targets, for vaccine producers to prioritize COVAX, and for everyone with influence to support the call for the moratorium on boosters.

© 2021 Cable News Network. A Warner Media Company. All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | AdChoices | Do not Sell my Personal Information | Manage cookies+

Read full article at CNN

WHO Seeks Halt to Covid Vaccine Boosters to Let Poorer Nations Catch Up

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now 04 August, 2021 - 04:00pm

WHO calls for moratorium on vaccine booster shots

Fox News 04 August, 2021 - 11:07am

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2021 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Factset. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal Statement. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.

The ‘Outnumbered’ co-host says Biden is ‘tiptoeing’ towards vaccine mandates after his approval of Mayor De Blasio’s announcement

The head of the World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines as a way to help ensure that doses are available in countries where few people have received their first shots.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the appeal mostly to wealthier countries that have far outpaced the developing world in numbers of vaccinations.

WHO officials say the science is unproven about whether giving booster shots to people who have already received two vaccine doses is effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

The U.N. health agency has repeatedly called for rich countries to do more to help improve access to vaccines in the developing world.

Tedros pointed to a WHO target set earlier this year to ensure that 10% of the populations in countries receive vaccines against the coronavirus.

"Accordingly, 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," he said Wednesday.

To help take the heat out of the pandemic, WHO has been focusing on getting vaccines to older adults, health care workers and other target populations in many countries before booster shot campaigns are carried out.

Israel, France, Germany and many Middle Eastern countries have already started administering booster shots, and other nations, including the United States and Britain, are considering plans to do so in the wake of the emergence of the highly transmissible delta variant.

Dr. Katherine O’Brien, WHO’s director for immunization, vaccines and biologicals, noted that a "very limited number" of countries were giving booster doses though a larger number were contemplating it.

"The evidence is evolving. It’s moving. We don’t have a full set of evidence around whether this is needed or not," O'Brien said, adding that the main message was that "we need instead to focus on those people who are most vulnerable."

WHO officials reiterated their call for global "solidarity" to help battle the coronavirus pandemic and appealed to wealthy countries and corporations to help.

"We need everyone’s cooperation, especially the handful of countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines," Tedros said, appealing in particular to the influential Group of 20 large economies. "The G-20 has a vital leadership role to play as the countries that are the biggest producers, the biggest consumers and the biggest donors of COVID-19 vaccines."

He urged the G-20, which currently is chaired by Italy, to make "concrete commitments to support global vaccination targets."

"We call on everyone with influence -- Olympic athletes, investors, business leaders, faith leaders and every individual in their own family and community -- to support our call for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September," Tedros said.

Stay up-to-date on the biggest health and wellness news with our weekly recap.

You've successfully subscribed to this newsletter!

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2021 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Factset. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal Statement. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.

WHO calls for moratorium on vaccine booster shots

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now 04 August, 2021 - 11:07am

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2021 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Factset. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal Statement. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.

The ‘Outnumbered’ co-host says Biden is ‘tiptoeing’ towards vaccine mandates after his approval of Mayor De Blasio’s announcement

The head of the World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines as a way to help ensure that doses are available in countries where few people have received their first shots.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the appeal mostly to wealthier countries that have far outpaced the developing world in numbers of vaccinations.

WHO officials say the science is unproven about whether giving booster shots to people who have already received two vaccine doses is effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

The U.N. health agency has repeatedly called for rich countries to do more to help improve access to vaccines in the developing world.

Tedros pointed to a WHO target set earlier this year to ensure that 10% of the populations in countries receive vaccines against the coronavirus.

"Accordingly, 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," he said Wednesday.

To help take the heat out of the pandemic, WHO has been focusing on getting vaccines to older adults, health care workers and other target populations in many countries before booster shot campaigns are carried out.

Israel, France, Germany and many Middle Eastern countries have already started administering booster shots, and other nations, including the United States and Britain, are considering plans to do so in the wake of the emergence of the highly transmissible delta variant.

Dr. Katherine O’Brien, WHO’s director for immunization, vaccines and biologicals, noted that a "very limited number" of countries were giving booster doses though a larger number were contemplating it.

"The evidence is evolving. It’s moving. We don’t have a full set of evidence around whether this is needed or not," O'Brien said, adding that the main message was that "we need instead to focus on those people who are most vulnerable."

WHO officials reiterated their call for global "solidarity" to help battle the coronavirus pandemic and appealed to wealthy countries and corporations to help.

"We need everyone’s cooperation, especially the handful of countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines," Tedros said, appealing in particular to the influential Group of 20 large economies. "The G-20 has a vital leadership role to play as the countries that are the biggest producers, the biggest consumers and the biggest donors of COVID-19 vaccines."

He urged the G-20, which currently is chaired by Italy, to make "concrete commitments to support global vaccination targets."

"We call on everyone with influence -- Olympic athletes, investors, business leaders, faith leaders and every individual in their own family and community -- to support our call for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September," Tedros said.

Stay up-to-date on the biggest health and wellness news with our weekly recap.

You've successfully subscribed to this newsletter!

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2021 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Factset. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal Statement. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.

WHO Calls for Halt to Covid-19 Booster Shots

The Wall Street Journal 04 August, 2021 - 10:37am

The World Health Organization called Wednesday for a moratorium on Covid-19 booster shots until at least the end of September to address a shortfall in vaccine supplies to poor countries.

The call came as some rich-country governments said they would start administering booster shots to increase protection for those most at risk from Covid-19, while others, such as the U.S. and U.K., have said they are studying the matter.

The World Health Organization called Wednesday for a moratorium on Covid-19 booster shots until at least the end of September to address a shortfall in vaccine supplies to poor countries.

Please Also See: Covid-19 Booster: Do I Need a Third Vaccine Shot?

The call came as some rich-country governments said they would start administering booster shots to increase protection for those most at risk from Covid-19, while others, such as the U.S. and U.K., have said they are studying the matter.

The WHO’s appeal highlights the tension between national governments’ desire to protect their own populations and what global public-health experts say is the longer-term risk that, if the virus is allowed to circulate freely in poorer countries, it will have multiple opportunities to mutate into variants that are more successful at defeating vaccines.

As the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus is becoming dominant in country after country, Israel has started giving a third shot to its most vulnerable people, while the German and French governments have said they intend to soon.

Authorities are also concerned that the protection given by vaccines and previous infections could wane over time in a way that could put people at risk again as winter approaches in the Northern Hemisphere.

WHO officials point out that there isn’t firm evidence about the longer-term effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines, given they have only been in use for months. Preliminary studies suggesting that antibodies against the disease fade over time ignore other responses that the immune system brings to bear against the disease, specialists say.

The WHO said the world is falling short of the organization’s target of giving 10% of the population of every country a vaccine shot by the end of September. While richer countries have administered almost 100 doses for every 100 people, low-income countries have administered just 1.5 doses per 100 people, the agency said. Most of the vaccines currently in use require two doses.

“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant, but we cannot and should not 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,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.

“Accordingly, 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,” he said.

Companies are working on coronavirus booster shots, as some early studies suggest antibody levels against Covid-19 wane with time, making boosters more necessary. We explore what that means for individual consumers. Illustration: Laura Kammermann/The Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition

He said more than 80% of global vaccine supplies had gone to richer countries accounting for less than half of the world’s population.

He said many people in poor countries can’t afford to eat if they fall ill and can’t work. The WHO argues that 10% population coverage is needed to protect health workers and the oldest people most at risk of dying from Covid-19. But 40% coverage, which the agency targets for the end of the year, would be needed to capture everyone over 50.

Dr. Tedros said cooperation was needed particularly among the small number of countries and companies that control global vaccine supplies. He said the Group of 20 large economies had a vital leadership role to play as countries that are the biggest producers, consumers and donors of Covid-19 vaccines.

Simon Quijano-Evans, chief economist at Gemcorp Capital LLC, a London-based investment fund focusing on emerging markets, says there is a striking correlation between how rich a country is and how successful its vaccine-delivery program has been.

“It’s quite conspicuous that the countries that did receive these vaccines are those countries that host the developers of the vaccines, whether it’s in the U.S. or Europe,” he said.

He said the pandemic emerged during a period of international trade and other tensions, which hampered vaccine cooperation, and that G-20 countries failed to provide the leadership that would have allowed poorer countries to develop vaccine production capabilities.

Western governments are beginning to ramp up supplies of vaccines to poorer countries, many through the WHO-backed Covax facility that got off to a stuttering start.

President Biden said Tuesday his administration has shipped more than 110 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to 65 countries, as it works to share supply with the rest of the world following regulatory and logistical setbacks.

A spokeswoman for the German healthcare ministry said that the government would donate bilaterally or via international schemes around 30 million doses to nations that have poor access to vaccines, but that it would also continue with its program of administering a third dose to its vulnerable population.

“Our aim is to achieve both things: we want to provide the vulnerable groups in Germany with a prophylactic third vaccination while at the same time supporting as many people as possible across the world,” the spokeswoman said in an email.

In the U.S., Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech SE said last month they would seek clearance from U.S. regulators to distribute a booster shot of its Covid-19 vaccine, based on encouraging initial study data. Federal health agencies responded with a statement saying that fully vaccinated Americans don’t currently need a booster shot.

Plans for administering boosters are advanced in Israel, where doctors are already authorized to give boosters to the most vulnerable, and in parts of Europe, where some governments say they plan to do so from September and others like the U.K. say they are preparing to do so if they get the go-ahead from regulators.

In Asia, authorities in Indonesia and Thailand have said they would give health workers booster shots of Western vaccines, after many fell ill despite having received two doses of the vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech Ltd. from China.

Public-health experts in China have also said Beijing may need to consider booster doses.

In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have authorized Pfizer booster shots to those who have received two doses of another vaccine manufactured by the China National Pharmaceutical Group, known as Sinopharm.

—Bojan Pancevski in Berlin contributed to this article.

Write to Stephen Fidler at stephen.fidler@wsj.com

Delta variant is now in 135 countries, says WHO, as director-general calls for moratorium on boosters to allow poorer countries get first doses

MarketWatch 04 August, 2021 - 10:18am

The highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is now in 135 countries, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, as its head called for a moratorium on booster shots of vaccines to ensure poorer countries can get access to first doses.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made this latest appeal for greater vaccine equity at a regular press briefing, the Associated Press reported. The agency has said there is still not enough data to show that boosters are needed for people...

The highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is now in 135 countries, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, as its head called for a moratorium on booster shots of vaccines to ensure poorer countries can get access to first doses.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made this latest appeal for greater vaccine equity at a regular press briefing, the Associated Press reported. The agency has said there is still not enough data to show that boosters are needed for people who have had both shots of a two-dose vaccine in reining in the spread of the virus.

Tedros reiterated the target set by WHO earlier this year of having 10% of the populations of all countries get vaccines by September on the grounds that as long as major swaths of a population are unvaccinated, variants may emerge, with the risk that one might prove fully vaccine-resistant.

“Accordingly, 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,” he said Wednesday.

In its weekly epidemiological update, the WHO said the global number of confirmed new cases stood at more than 4 million in the week through Aug. 1, and has now been rising for more than a month.

The trend is being driven by sharp rises in the eastern Mediterranean and western Pacific regions, which reported 37% and 33% increases, respectively, in the latest week, while the southeastern Asia region reported a 9% increase.

The number of deaths fell 7% from the previous week to 64,000-plus. The global tally of cases could exceed 200 million by next week.

The update also said that the delta variant was detected in three new countries in the latest week, boosting the total to 135. The delta variant is dominant in the U.S., where younger people are showing more severe forms of COVID, as the New York Times reported.

Many of the patients that are now being hospitalized are younger than 50, in contrast to the significantly higher average age when the pandemic surged last year. Doctors are reporting many cases in patients in their 20s or 30s, almost always unvaccinated, and they are said to be sicker than younger people were last year.

Doctors have coined the phrase “younger, sicker, quicker” to describe the phenomenon and suspect that delta is playing a role, although there is not enough data yet to be confident.

Experts continue to urge unvaccinated people in all age groups to get their shots and not put themselves at risk of a potentially lethal illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracker is showing that 65-and-older Americans have the highest vaccination rate, with 80.1% fully vaccinated.

Read now: I traveled overseas as the delta variant of COVID-19 surged. Here’s what I wish I knew before my trip.

That means they have had two shots of the vaccines developed by Pfizer PFE with German partner BioNTech BNTX or Moderna MRNA , or one shot of Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ one-dose regimen. The AstraZeneca AZN AZN vaccine, widely used in the U.K. and other places, has not been authorized for use in the U.S.

That compares with the overall vaccination rate of 49.7%. Among adults 18 and over, 60.6% are fully vaccinated and 70.1% have received at least one dose. But rates vary widely from state to state, and a group of mostly southern states, led by Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama, are experiencing worrying COVID-case surges, according to a New York Times tracker.

Governors in some of those states are resisting revised CDC guidance on wearing face masks, even as their hospitals fill with patients. Others have changed their minds. Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, a Republican, said he now regrets signing a law barring mask mandates from being enacted locally in his state.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is aiming to grant full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine by Labor Day or sooner, the New York Times reported. That may boost vaccination rates, as some resisters have cited the lack of full approval as a reason to avoid the shot, and it is hoped that approval will boost public confidence and encourage more people to get vaccinated.

Pfizer applied for full approval for its vaccine on May 7, and Moderna applied in June. A full approval is a much more in-depth type of authorization that takes a longer time; even a “priority review” can take six months. But experts have urged the FDA to speed up the process, as COVID-19 continues to spread and since the vaccine has shown to be safe and effective in millions of people.

In other COVID news, Beijing is banning overseas travel for its residents as it works to contain its worst outbreak since the early days of the pandemic, CBS News reported. China’s capital recorded 71 new locally transmitted cases on Wednesday.

South Korea has detected its first two cases of the new delta-plus COVID-19 variant, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, as Reuters reported. That variant is in the sublineage of the delta variant first identified in India, and has acquired the spike-protein mutation called K417N, which is also found in the beta variant first identified in South Africa, said Reuters. Some scientists fear that variant is even more transmissible than delta, but more study is required to be certain.

Greece’s entire synchronized-swimming team is out of the Olympics after four athletes tested positive for COVID-19, NPR reported. The bad news came as the sport, officially called artistic swimming, was just entering its first days of competition.

In France, coastal areas are reactivating measures to protect from the virus, including the wearing of face masks, AFP reported. Health officials on Corsica said they were providing more intensive-care beds for COVID patients and mobilizing medical staff as hospital occupancy in Bastia, one of the Mediterranean island’s two main cities, passed 79%.

In the U.K., the vaccine advisory board is recommending that 16- and 17-year-olds be offered a first vaccine dose, namely of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the Guardian reported. In a statement circulated Wednesday afternoon, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization said its decision had been made after “large changes” in the way that COVID has been spreading in the U.K., “particularly in younger age groups.”

The European Commission will buy up to 200 million doses of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax Inc. NVAX . The deal covers an initial 100 million doses and the option to buy an additional 100 million doses through 2023. The company said it expects to complete its submission to EU regulators in the third quarter of this year.

Former President Barack Obama has scaled back a 60th-birthday bash set for this weekend due to the surge of infections blamed on the delta variant of the coronavirus, his office said Wednesday, the AP reported. Attendance is now limited to family and close friends. Published reports had said hundreds of celebrities, politicos and others were expected at the Martha’s Vineyard home the Obamas purchased in 2019.

See: Pandemic travel restrictions separate loved ones around the world

Main Street: The CDC should scrap its confusing guidance and make Covid-19 vaccination the only priority. Images: AFP via Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness headed above 199.7 million on Wednesday, while the death toll climbed above 4.25 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. leads the world with a total of 35.2 million cases and in deaths with 614,337.

India is second by cases at 31.8 million and third by deaths at 425,757 according to its official numbers, which are expected to be undercounted.

Brazil is second in deaths at 558,432, but is third in cases at 19.9 million. Mexico has fourth highest death toll at 241,936 but has recorded just 2.9 million cases, according to its official numbers.

In Europe, Russia continues to pull ahead of the U.K. by deaths at 159,032, while the U.K. has 130,179, making Russia the country with the fifth highest death toll in the world and highest in Europe.

China, where the virus was first discovered late in 2019, has had 105,353 confirmed cases and 4,848 deaths, according to its official numbers, which are widely held to be massively underreported.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is aiming to grant full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine by Labor Day or sooner, according to a new report.

Continue Reading Your Article With a MarketWatch Membership

You are approaching your article limit.Get unlimited access

Copyright © MarketWatch, Inc. All rights reserved.

The W.H.O. calls for a moratorium on Covid vaccine boosters to help each country get more people vaccinated.

The New York Times 04 August, 2021 - 10:05am

Even while hundreds of millions of people are still waiting for their first dose, some rich countries are moving towards booster doses. So far, more than four billion vaccine doses have been administered globally. More than 80 percent have gone to high and upper-middle income countries, even though they account for less than half of the world’s population. I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant. But we cannot and we should not 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. We need an urgent reversal. From the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries to the majority going to low-income countries. Accordingly, W.H.O. is calling for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September to enable at least 10 percent of the population of every country to be vaccinated.

The World Health Organization called on Wednesday for a moratorium on coronavirus vaccine booster shots until the end of September, so that vaccine supplies can be focused on helping all countries vaccinate at least 10 percent of their populations. The agency made its appeal to the world’s wealthiest nations to address the wide disparities in vaccination rates around the world.

“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the W.H.O., said in a briefing. “But we cannot — and we should not — 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.”

With the debate over booster shots heating up, the call highlighted a moral and scientific case long pressed by humanitarian groups: With the staggering gaps in vaccination rates around the world and cases surging as the Delta variant spreads, vaccine doses should be given first to vulnerable people in poorer nations. Fully vaccinated people are protected against the worst outcomes of Covid-19 caused by the Delta variant.

W.H.O. officials went to pains to distinguish between booster shots used to shore up immunity in vaccinated populations, for which the science is not yet clear, and additional doses that may be needed by the immunocompromised to develop immunity in the first place. Officials said they objected to boosters, not to additional doses for some subgroups.

Of more than four billion vaccine doses in total that have been administered around the world, more than 80 percent have been used in high- and upper-middle-income countries, which account for less than half of the world’s population, Dr. Tedros said.

“We need an urgent reversal, from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries to the majority going to low-income countries,” he said.

Scientists have not reached a consensus on whether booster shots in general are necessary. Still, with worries mounting about continuing pandemic waves and future lockdowns, an increasing number of countries, like Germany, Israel and France, are preparing to offer booster doses to segments of their populations, or have already started administering them.

Studies have indicated that the immunity generated by the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines is long-lasting, and researchers are still working to understand recent Israeli data suggesting that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine declined in efficacy months after inoculation.

Asked about the W.H.O.’s call on Wednesday afternoon, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said at a news conference, “We feel that it’s a false choice, and that we can do both.”

“We will have enough supply to ensure, if the F.D.A. decides that boosters are recommended for a portion of the population, to provide those as well,” Ms. Psaki added, noting efforts by the administration to send vaccine doses to other countries.

Deaths from Covid-19 have surged in African nations in recent months, while many health workers and elderly or vulnerable people in the region have remained entirely unprotected.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States and an adviser to Mr. Biden, said on Tuesday that in some cases, it takes more than the usual number of shots to completely vaccinate immunocompromised people.

“Giving them an additional shot is almost not considered a booster, it’s considered part of what their original regimen should have been,” Dr. Fauci said in an interview with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Many such patients, and “maybe most of them, have not gotten an adequate immune response to begin with,” he said.

That point was echoed by Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior W.H.O. adviser, who said at Wednesday’s briefing that for people like solid organ transplant patients, a third dose would be part of “their primary series” of treatment and not a booster.

The W.H.O.’s appeal largely put the onus of fixing the world’s vaccine gaps on the world’s wealthiest nations, saying that the leadership of Group of 20 countries would determine the course of the pandemic. Dr. Tedros asked health ministers of those countries, who are meeting ahead of a planned summit in October, to make “concrete commitments” to reach the organization’s global vaccination target.

Vaccine producers, he said, should give priority to supplying Covax, a U.N.- backed alliance that was supposed to ensure that poorer countries’ health workers and vulnerable residents were all inoculated.

But the program has struggled to acquire enough doses, and is half a billion short of its targets. Supplies have dried up from some of the manufacturers it was most relying on, leaving a number of its recipient countries nearly or entirely out of vaccines in recent months.

Wealthier nations have a clear incentive to fill vaccination gaps in a continuing crisis that has gripped every corner of the world: the longer the virus rampages, the more dangerous it can become, as new variants emerge that may endanger progress even in even largely vaccinated nations.

The pandemic will not end “unless the whole world gets out of it together,” Dr. Aylward said. “With the huge disparity in vaccination coverage, we are simply not going to achieve that.”

The W.H.O. calls for a moratorium on Covid vaccine boosters to help each country get more people vaccinated.

The Boston Globe 04 August, 2021 - 10:05am

Even while hundreds of millions of people are still waiting for their first dose, some rich countries are moving towards booster doses. So far, more than four billion vaccine doses have been administered globally. More than 80 percent have gone to high and upper-middle income countries, even though they account for less than half of the world’s population. I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant. But we cannot and we should not 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. We need an urgent reversal. From the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries to the majority going to low-income countries. Accordingly, W.H.O. is calling for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September to enable at least 10 percent of the population of every country to be vaccinated.

The World Health Organization called on Wednesday for a moratorium on coronavirus vaccine booster shots until the end of September, so that vaccine supplies can be focused on helping all countries vaccinate at least 10 percent of their populations. The agency made its appeal to the world’s wealthiest nations to address the wide disparities in vaccination rates around the world.

“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the W.H.O., said in a briefing. “But we cannot — and we should not — 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.”

With the debate over booster shots heating up, the call highlighted a moral and scientific case long pressed by humanitarian groups: With the staggering gaps in vaccination rates around the world and cases surging as the Delta variant spreads, vaccine doses should be given first to vulnerable people in poorer nations. Fully vaccinated people are protected against the worst outcomes of Covid-19 caused by the Delta variant.

W.H.O. officials went to pains to distinguish between booster shots used to shore up immunity in vaccinated populations, for which the science is not yet clear, and additional doses that may be needed by the immunocompromised to develop immunity in the first place. Officials said they objected to boosters, not to additional doses for some subgroups.

Of more than four billion vaccine doses in total that have been administered around the world, more than 80 percent have been used in high- and upper-middle-income countries, which account for less than half of the world’s population, Dr. Tedros said.

“We need an urgent reversal, from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries to the majority going to low-income countries,” he said.

Scientists have not reached a consensus on whether booster shots in general are necessary. Still, with worries mounting about continuing pandemic waves and future lockdowns, an increasing number of countries, like Germany, Israel and France, are preparing to offer booster doses to segments of their populations, or have already started administering them.

Studies have indicated that the immunity generated by the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines is long-lasting, and researchers are still working to understand recent Israeli data suggesting that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine declined in efficacy months after inoculation.

Asked about the W.H.O.’s call on Wednesday afternoon, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said at a news conference, “We feel that it’s a false choice, and that we can do both.”

“We will have enough supply to ensure, if the F.D.A. decides that boosters are recommended for a portion of the population, to provide those as well,” Ms. Psaki added, noting efforts by the administration to send vaccine doses to other countries.

Deaths from Covid-19 have surged in African nations in recent months, while many health workers and elderly or vulnerable people in the region have remained entirely unprotected.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States and an adviser to Mr. Biden, said on Tuesday that in some cases, it takes more than the usual number of shots to completely vaccinate immunocompromised people.

“Giving them an additional shot is almost not considered a booster, it’s considered part of what their original regimen should have been,” Dr. Fauci said in an interview with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Many such patients, and “maybe most of them, have not gotten an adequate immune response to begin with,” he said.

That point was echoed by Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior W.H.O. adviser, who said at Wednesday’s briefing that for people like solid organ transplant patients, a third dose would be part of “their primary series” of treatment and not a booster.

The W.H.O.’s appeal largely put the onus of fixing the world’s vaccine gaps on the world’s wealthiest nations, saying that the leadership of Group of 20 countries would determine the course of the pandemic. Dr. Tedros asked health ministers of those countries, who are meeting ahead of a planned summit in October, to make “concrete commitments” to reach the organization’s global vaccination target.

Vaccine producers, he said, should give priority to supplying Covax, a U.N.- backed alliance that was supposed to ensure that poorer countries’ health workers and vulnerable residents were all inoculated.

But the program has struggled to acquire enough doses, and is half a billion short of its targets. Supplies have dried up from some of the manufacturers it was most relying on, leaving a number of its recipient countries nearly or entirely out of vaccines in recent months.

Wealthier nations have a clear incentive to fill vaccination gaps in a continuing crisis that has gripped every corner of the world: the longer the virus rampages, the more dangerous it can become, as new variants emerge that may endanger progress even in even largely vaccinated nations.

The pandemic will not end “unless the whole world gets out of it together,” Dr. Aylward said. “With the huge disparity in vaccination coverage, we are simply not going to achieve that.”

WORLD Stories