Covid: WHO calls for booster pause to vaccinate poorer nations

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image source, Reuters
image captionPoorer nations currently experiencing a spike in cases are yet to vaccinate a large proportion of their population

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a suspension on booster vaccines for Covid-19 until at least the end of September.

WHO Chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a pause would allow for at least 10% of the population in every country to be vaccinated.

A number of nations including Israel and Germany have announced plans to administer a third dose.

But Dr Tedros has warned poorer nations are falling behind.

According to the WHO, low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people due to a lack of supply.

Dr Tedros said that there needs to be a reversal and that the majority of vaccines should go to lower income countries.

"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," he added.

It is a strong call from the WHO, as the agency attempts to narrow the gap between high-income and low-income nations.

It had wanted 10% of people in every country to be vaccinated by next month, but that target is unlikely to be met on the current trajectory.

In Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo, none of the population has received two doses of the vaccine.

Indonesia, which has seen infections and deaths spike in recent months due to the Delta variant, has only fully vaccinated 7.9% of its population, according to Our World in Data.

Meanwhile Israel began rolling out a booster shot for the over 60s, while Germany announced on Tuesday that it would start offering third doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. In the UK, millions of people classed as vulnerable could be offered a booster from September.

The US has not announced a policy on booster vaccinations but the White House said on Wednesday that it has enough doses to distribute vaccines abroad while also ensuring Americans can be fully vaccinated.

"We definitely feel like it's a false choice and we can do both," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

This is not the first time that Dr Tedros has called on richer nations to donate vaccine supplies to low-income countries.

Dr Tedros urged countries to supply more vaccines to the global fair-access scheme Covax. However a number of countries, including the UK, are pressing ahead with plans to vaccinate children and teenagers.

Global vaccine rollout

Scroll table
World
75.5
5,947,014,441
China
150.6
2,186,651,155
India
57.8
804,778,696
US
114.6
385,586,012
Brazil
103.9
222,322,654
Japan
118.9
149,882,538
Indonesia
45.1
124,649,550
Germany
125.9
105,667,332
Turkey
123.6
105,110,950
Mexico
73.1
95,271,399
UK
138.6
93,002,090
France
136.6
92,262,410
Russia
60.1
87,736,626
Italy
136.5
82,410,009
Pakistan
32.8
73,831,778
Spain
147.8
69,094,664
South Korea
108.2
55,514,851
Canada
144.6
55,060,361
Argentina
107.1
48,830,206
Thailand
63.6
44,485,657
Iran
49.4
42,003,863
Philippines
37.3
41,414,015
Saudi Arabia
115.7
40,888,055
Malaysia
123.2
40,375,056
Colombia
74.8
38,331,643
Morocco
99.7
37,238,088
Poland
97.8
36,956,930
Bangladesh
22.1
36,832,791
Vietnam
34.7
34,095,243
Chile
160.2
30,785,756
Sri Lanka
115.4
24,803,998
Australia
95.5
24,619,474
Peru
70.4
23,478,943
Netherlands
129.3
22,196,529
Cambodia
127.5
21,612,643
Ecuador
114.4
20,456,671
United Arab Emirates
194.6
19,445,872
Cuba
157.0
17,766,271
Uzbekistan
51.4
17,435,318
Belgium
141.3
16,442,235
South Africa
26.1
15,683,797
Portugal
152.9
15,550,992
Israel
167.7
14,740,126
Kazakhstan
70.7
13,427,908
Sweden
131.9
13,403,076
Taiwan
55.2
13,171,843
Egypt
11.5
11,989,196
Greece
114.6
11,880,179
Nepal
39.7
11,782,181
Czech Republic
109.2
11,714,829
Dominican Republic
106.2
11,632,704
Ukraine
26.4
11,456,848
Venezuela
38.6
11,094,206
Austria
118.5
10,720,274
Switzerland
115.4
10,055,192
Algeria
22.4
9,989,662
Romania
51.9
9,935,978
Hungary
96.0
9,249,943
Singapore
154.8
9,127,262
Denmark
150.1
8,727,463
Myanmar
14.9
8,184,418
Azerbaijan
78.0
7,976,549
Norway
138.8
7,586,705
Finland
132.9
7,374,481
El Salvador
109.7
7,153,847
Ireland
142.9
7,119,653
Tunisia
58.8
7,017,171
Jordan
66.3
6,805,103
Iraq
16.2
6,672,182
Bolivia
53.6
6,347,661
Serbia
92.2
6,275,408
Guatemala
33.5
6,118,069
Uruguay
172.7
6,017,599
Nigeria
2.8
5,858,737
Panama
115.3
5,051,989
Zimbabwe
33.2
5,015,041
Costa Rica
94.8
4,872,085
New Zealand
96.9
4,711,410
Qatar
158.8
4,653,019
Honduras
46.1
4,637,151
Slovakia
84.9
4,636,179
Laos
59.7
4,402,770
Paraguay
61.0
4,401,222
Mongolia
131.3
4,370,453
Oman
83.0
4,336,872
Tajikistan
35.4
3,446,777
Mozambique
10.7
3,427,486
Croatia
82.5
3,368,323
Kenya
6.1
3,337,913
Lithuania
123.4
3,318,012
Belarus
34.0
3,206,505
Rwanda
24.0
3,187,638
Ethiopia
2.5
2,966,309
Lebanon
40.1
2,717,164
Bahrain
145.2
2,538,291
Angola
7.3
2,469,333
Bulgaria
35.7
2,463,666
Kuwait
54.9
2,375,455
Slovenia
98.9
2,056,850
Afghanistan
5.0
1,979,652
Palestinian Territories
35.6
1,857,274
Senegal
10.3
1,768,064
Ivory Coast
6.3
1,698,973
Georgia
41.6
1,655,040
Albania
57.1
1,640,239
Mauritius
127.7
1,625,865
Latvia
84.8
1,583,574
Uganda
3.0
1,436,264
North Macedonia
68.9
1,435,392
Sudan
3.2
1,423,327
Guinea
10.3
1,387,699
Libya
19.9
1,381,309
Moldova
33.8
1,360,193
Kyrgyzstan
20.2
1,338,921
Estonia
100.7
1,334,888
Ghana
4.0
1,271,393
Kosovo
60.4
1,167,006
Cyprus
127.2
1,129,665
Bosnia and Herzegovina
32.5
1,060,145
Bhutan
134.1
1,046,117
Trinidad and Tobago
72.8
1,021,990
Malawi
5.0
983,126
Fiji
101.0
912,149
Malta
157.7
811,704
Luxembourg
122.8
779,620
Nicaragua
11.5
769,105
Maldives
132.6
720,666
Jamaica
23.6
702,693
Togo
7.7
651,941
Zambia
3.4
648,103
Timor-Leste
47.9
643,324
Niger
2.5
621,853
Botswana
24.5
587,595
Iceland
159.5
547,788
Guyana
65.6
518,295
Cameroon
1.6
444,521
Montenegro
69.0
433,269
Brunei
91.8
405,352
Syria
2.2
403,254
Suriname
63.9
378,161
Namibia
14.5
374,178
Mali
1.8
370,529
Equatorial Guinea
25.5
370,163
Cape Verde
65.6
368,789
Armenia
12.4
366,779
Somalia
2.1
351,305
Tanzania
0.6
350,000
Comoros
37.6
334,369
Mauritania
7.0
333,089
Yemen
1.1
322,934
Congo
5.6
319,231
Madagascar
1.0
283,091
Belize
68.1
275,719
Sierra Leone
2.7
221,110
Barbados
76.8
221,000
Eswatini
17.9
210,277
Gambia
8.1
201,835
Lesotho
9.3
201,795
Benin
1.4
174,104
Bahamas
43.6
173,130
Burkina Faso
0.8
166,160
Papua New Guinea
1.7
154,710
Jersey
148.8
150,379
Gabon
6.4
146,464
Seychelles
145.1
143,490
Samoa
71.2
142,566
Isle of Man
150.9
128,915
DR Congo
0.1
120,062
Liberia
2.2
113,680
Central African Republic
2.3
112,492
Chad
0.6
104,707
Cayman Islands
157.3
104,609
Guernsey
151.4
101,487
Solomon Islands
13.9
97,744
Andorra
120.8
93,430
Bermuda
138.8
86,194
Antigua and Barbuda
81.0
79,922
Gibraltar
235.3
79,269
Greenland
135.0
76,772
Faroe Islands
149.2
73,208
Saint Lucia
39.4
72,577
Tonga
64.1
68,404
South Sudan
0.6
67,109
Djibouti
6.6
66,010
Haiti
0.5
57,341
Sao Tome and Principe
25.6
57,154
Turks and Caicos Islands
132.2
51,838
Vanuatu
16.1
50,620
Monaco
126.5
49,980
Grenada
42.6
48,140
San Marino
138.0
46,917
Saint Kitts and Nevis
87.6
46,884
Liechtenstein
117.1
44,789
Dominica
60.9
43,971
Turkmenistan
0.7
41,993
St Vincent and the Grenadines
29.3
32,614
British Virgin Islands
105.9
32,229
Kiribati
25.8
31,332
Guinea-Bissau
1.5
31,090
Cook Islands
127.8
22,456
Anguilla
122.7
18,565
Nauru
136.7
14,863
Tuvalu
89.7
10,692
Saint Helena
129.5
7,892
Falkland Islands
124.9
4,407
Montserrat
57.0
2,840
Niue
145.7
2,352
Tokelau
70.8
968
Pitcairn
200.0
94
British Indian Ocean Territory
0
0
Burundi
0
0
Eritrea
0
0
North Korea
0
0
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
0
0
Vatican
0
0

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