World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference held by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid COVID-19 on July 3, 2020 at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland – Outbreak is organized.
Fabrice Coffrini | Swimming pool | Reuters
The World Health Organization has extended its call for a moratorium on Covid-19 booster doses until at least the end of the year.
The WHO previously urged world leaders to wait until the end of September with booster doses.
“Since then, the global situation has hardly changed, so today I am calling for the moratorium to be extended until at least the end of the year so that each country can vaccinate at least 40% of its population,” said General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a briefing on Wednesday.
About 5.5 billion vaccine doses have been given worldwide, according to the WHO, but 80% were given in high- or middle-income countries.
“I will not be silent when the companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines believe that the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers,” said Tedros.
Almost 90% of high-income countries have vaccinated at least 10% of their population, and 70% of high-income countries have vaccinated at least 40% of their population. “Not a single low-income country has achieved either goal,” said Tedros. “It’s not your fault.”
“High-income countries have promised to donate more than 1 billion cans, but less than 15% of those cans have been realized,” said Tedros. “Manufacturers have promised to give priority to COVAX and low-income countries.”
The Director-General said WHO has been calling for equity in vaccines since the vaccine first began and that it shouldn’t do so after taking care of the richest countries.
“We don’t want any more promises, we just want the vaccines,” Tedros said. “We have the tools, it’s clear what needs to happen, now is the time for real leadership, not empty promises.”