The World Health Organization condemns the rush by wealthy countries to provide COVID vaccine booster shots, while millions around the world have yet to receive a single dose.
Speaking before US authorities announced that all vaccinated Americans would soon be eligible to receive additional doses, WHO experts insist there is not enough scientific evidence that boosters are needed and say providing them while so many were still waiting to be immunized is immoral.
“We’re planning to hand out extra life jackets to people who already have life jackets, while we’re leaving other people to drown without a single life jacket,” WHO’s emergency director Mike Ryan tells reporters from the UN agency’s Geneva headquarters. “The fundamental, ethical reality is we’re handing out second life jackets while leaving millions and millions of people without anything to protect them.”
Israel has begun administering third doses to Israelis aged 50 and over.
But WHO experts insist that the science is still out on boosters and stress that ensuring that people in low-income countries where vaccination is lagging received jabs was far more important.