The head of the organization asked the G20 countries to postpone the revaccination against coronavirus at least until the end of September, because hundreds of millions of people in poor countries are still waiting for the first doses of vaccines.
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called for a moratorium - a temporary ban - on re-vaccination against coronavirus infection, writes Reuters. In his opinion, states should postpone this for at least two months in order to give the world a chance to vaccinate 10% of the population of each country by the end of September. Then 40% by the end of the year, and 70% by mid-2022.
Speaking about the outbreak of coronavirus in Uganda - including due to a shortage of vaccines - Gebreyesus recalled that first of all, health workers, the elderly and other vulnerable groups should be vaccinated, especially in low-income countries. The reality of hundreds of millions of people in the world is that they cannot afford to stay at home because they have to make money.
“While hundreds of millions of people are still waiting for the first dose, some rich countries are switching to booster vaccinations. To date, more than four billion doses of the vaccine have been administered worldwide. More than 80% are in high-income or upper-middle-income countries, with less than half of the world's population living in these countries. I understand the concern of governments in protecting their people from the delta strain. But we cannot agree that states that have already used most of the world's vaccine supply will use even more while the most vulnerable remain unprotected. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the course of the pandemic depends on the G20 countries,”added Gebreyesus.
The WHO estimates that the developed world has nearly 100 doses for every 100 people, while in low-income countries only 1.5 doses are left for every 100 people. “We call on everyone with influence, Olympic athletes, investors, business leaders, religious leaders and each individual in his family and community, to support our call for a moratorium on additional doses of vaccines until at least the end of September,” concluded the CEO WHO. The ban could be extended if the situation in poor countries does not change.
Vaccinating the entire world is critical to ending the pandemic, experts say. Especially against the background of the rapid spread and increased infectivity of the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, which has already become dominant and provoked new outbreaks of the virus where the epidemic seemed to be declining.
For similar reasons, governments have begun announcing booster vaccination programs. They are already operating in Russia (since the end of June), Germany (for risk groups). In some regions of the United States, a third shot can be given, but the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have previously issued a statement that fully vaccinated people do not need a booster dose. The European Union is preparing for re-immunization of the population, but is still waiting for the scientific opinion of the European Medicines Agency that it is really necessary.
Since August, Israel, which previously was the first in the world to successfully vaccinate most of its citizens, announced the start of revaccination of the elderly. However, the number of cases of Covid-19 began to grow again, so the authorities had to return the canceled restrictions. Thus, the Cabinet of Ministers has introduced the mandatory wearing of masks - when there are more than 100 people, even in open spaces.
The problem is that, according to a report from the local Ministry of Health, the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is only 39% effective against the delta strain - this figure dropped by 25% in a couple of weeks. Although two doses still protect well against severe illness and hospitalization.
Pfizer itself also noted a decrease in antibody levels four to six months after two injections, so it decided to get approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for a booster dose. Studies have shown that the third vaccination - at least six months after the first full vaccination - raises IgG titers by five to ten times.