WHO calls for moratorium on COVID-19 vaccine booster doses

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, March 2, 2020. More than $1.1 trillion was wiped off the value of developing-nation stocks and bonds last week as the economic impact of the coronavirus worsened. Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on COVID-19 vaccine boosters until at least the end of September, its head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.

The move was to enable that at least 10 percent of the population of every country was vaccinated, Tedros said.

“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant. But we cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it,” Tedros added.

Last week, Israeli President Isaac Herzog received the third shot of coronavirus vaccine, kicking off a campaign to give booster doses to people aged over 60 as part of efforts to slow the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant in the country.

The United States in July signed a deal with Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech to buy 200 million additional doses of their COVID-19 vaccines to help with pediatric vaccination as well as possible booster shots.

“We need instead to focus on those people who are most vulnerable, most at risk of severe disease and death, to get their first and second doses,” Katherine O’Brien, director, immunization vaccines and biologicals at the WHO, told reporters.