The World Health Organization (WHO) is redoubling its appeal against Covid-19 booster shots as more wealthy countries move to offer a third dose, with the group’s head on Monday calling for a two-month pause to prioritize nations where vaccinations are severely lagging.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pleaded with countries during a news conference in Hungary “to share what can be used for boosters” to help other places “increase their first and second vaccination coverage,” according to reporters at the event.
He argued that wealthy nations stockpiling the vaccine increases the risk that stronger variants will develop in countries with low inoculation rates.
Not only could the hyper infectious delta variant become “more virulent,” but “more potent variants could also emerge” if the virus gets “the chance to circulate in countries with low vaccination coverage,” Ghebreyesus warned.
Furthermore, the WHO director called into question whether booster shots are “effective at all,” a comment that comes days after the organization’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said “data today does not indicate that boosters are needed.”
Ghebreyesus said boosters should only be doled out to people with weak immune systems.