On Wednesday, the World Health Organization’s director-general urged wealthier countries to stop giving booster COVID-19 shots to people who are fully vaccinated and instead send those doses to poorer countries.
During a news conference in Geneva, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for a two-month booster ban.
Ghebreyesus stated in his appeal that the WHO’s goal is to have at least 10% of each country’s population vaccinated by the end of September.
He said wealthier countries, such as the United States and Britain, have administered nearly 100 doses of vaccine per 100 people. In developing nations, that figure is less than two doses per 100 people. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require each person to receive two doses to be fully vaccinated.
“More than 4 billion vaccine doses have been administered globally,” he said. “More than 80% go to high- and upper-income countries, even though they account for less than half of the world’s population.”
According to Ghebreyesus, the United Nations Health Organization is not on track to meet its 10% target. The WHO also hopes to vaccinate 40% of the world’s population by December.
According to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University, the global case total surpassed 200 million on Wednesday, with a total of 4.25 million deaths reported since the start of the pandemic.
The milestone came amid surges caused by the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, including in the United States, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a seven-day moving case average of 89,463 on Tuesday as the country struggled to reach 70% of adults with at least one vaccine shot.
The WHO chief said the wealthiest nations, who comprise the Group of 20, have a vital role to play as they are the countries that produce, supply and donate the largest supplies of vaccines.
“It’s no understatement to say that the course of the pandemic depends on the leadership of the G20 countries,” he said.
US President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that the US has sent more than 100 million vaccine doses to be distributed in poorer countries, primarily through COVAX, a programme run jointly by the WHO and other alliances.