Geneva, 4 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) – The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for a temporary halt to the administration of vaccine booster shots against the coronavirus while many poorer countries are still waiting for vaccine doses to arrive.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticized plans for third shots, which were discussed by several countries at the WHO in Geneva on Wednesday.
Tedros said that booster shot programmes already under way should be suspended and plans to implement them put on hold until at least the end of September, when 10 per cent of the world’s population should be vaccinated.
“High-income countries have administered 100 vaccine doses per 100 inhabitants,” Tedros said. “At the same time, low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses per 100 people because they lack vaccine. We urgently need a turnaround so that the majority of vaccines go to low-income countries instead of high-income countries.”
The call came amid some positive news on Wednesday, as the WHO reported that the Lambda variant of the coronavirus, first recorded in Peru, does not appear to be highly transmissible, judging by data on how fast it is spreading.
While Lambda has been detected in some 40 countries already, it is now classified as one of four “variants of interest,” but not a “variant of concern” such as the Delta.
The WHO also announced on Wednesday that it recommends vaccinated mothers who contract the coronavirus to continue breastfeeding their newborns, as the vaccination poses no risk to the infant, and the antibodies in the milk may even help protect the baby from infection.