According to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the unequal distribution of Covid-19 boosters in affluent nations, while many impoverished countries struggle to acquire even their first doses, is a “scandal” that must be addressed.
Ghebreyesus said at a press conference on Friday that nations with high immunisation rates are continuing to stockpile booster doses, while poorer countries are still waiting.
“Every day, there are six times more boosters administered globally than primary doses in low-income countries,” Ghebreyesus said.
“This is a scandal that must stop now,” he added.
The WHO chief criticised the distribution of boosters to healthy adults saying that “it makes no sense to give boosters to healthy adults, or to vaccinate children, when health workers, older people and other high-risk groups around the world are still waiting for their first dose.”
However, he said that there is an exception — immunocompromised individuals.
Inequitable vaccine distribution has hit Africa particularly hard, where just 6 per cent of the continent’s population is fully vaccinated against Covid, the WHO’s Regional Office for Africa reported as of October 28.
“Vaccines alone will not end the pandemic, but we cannot end the pandemic unless we solve the global vaccine crisis,” Ghebreyesus said.
According to CNBC, the WHO previously set a goal of vaccinating 40% of the population of each country by the end of the year, but more than 100 countries are currently falling short of the target. WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said at the briefing that more than 100 countries are currently falling short of the target.
Swaminathan went on to say that the WHO would be on track to meet that objective unless COVAX, the WHO’s project to provide Covid injections to at least 20% of the world’s population, received an additional 500 million doses to distribute.