WHO criticizes wealthy countries over booster shots

World Health Organization condemns wealthy countries for providing booster shots while millions around the world have yet to receive one dose.

Elad Benari ,

COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday condemned the rush by wealthy countries to provide COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, while millions around the world have yet to receive a single dose, AFP reported.

Speaking before US authorities announced that all vaccinated Americans would soon be eligible to receive additional doses, WHO experts insisted there was not enough scientific evidence that boosters were needed and said providing them while so many were still waiting to be immunized was immoral.

"We're planning to hand out extra life jackets to people who already have life jackets, while we're leaving other people to drown without a single life jacket," WHO's emergency director Mike Ryan told reporters, according to AFP.

"The fundamental, ethical reality is we're handing out second life jackets while leaving millions and millions of people without anything to protect them," added Ryan.

On Wednesday, US authorities said they had authorized booster shots for all Americans from September 20 starting eight months after an individual has been fully vaccinated.

The officials said that while the vaccines remain "remarkably effective" in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death from the effects of COVID, protection could diminish in the months ahead without boosted immunization.

Israel has also begun administering third doses to Israelis aged 50 and over. Britain will also offer booster vaccines against COVID-19 to 32 million citizens starting early next month with up to 2,000 pharmacies set to deliver the program.

Germany has also announced it will start offering COVID-19 booster shots as of September.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently urged the countries and companies controlling the supply of vaccine doses to prioritize addressing the drastic inequity in vaccine distribution between rich and poor nations.

The United States rejected the WHO appeal, saying the US has enough vaccines to both administer booster shots should they be needed as well as to supply poorer nations.