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WHO seeks COVID vaccine booster for poorer nations

WHO officials urged global "solidarity" to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, making an appeal to wealthy countries and corporations to help.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for a moratorium on administering booster shots of the vaccine to ensure doses are available to nations with a limited vaccination rollout. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the appeal to wealthier countries that have outpaced less fortunate nations in vaccination numbers.

Tedros said Wednesday the WHO is working towards vaccinating at least 10 percent of populations in each country by September, CTV News reported.

Dr. Katherine O'Brien, WHO's vaccines chief, noted that a "very limited number" of countries gave booster doses, though many contemplated the idea. Countries like Israel, France, and Germany administered booster shots before, while the US and Great Britain are considering them with the emergence of the Delta variant.

"The evidence is evolving. It's moving. We don't have a full set of evidence around whether this is needed or not," O'Brien said, adding that "we need instead to focus on those people who are most vulnerable."

WHO officials urged global "solidarity" to combat the COVID-19 pandemic appealed to wealthy countries and corporations to help. Tedros said richer countries have administered about 100 doses of COVID vaccines for every 100 people, while low-income countries have provided only 1.5 doses per 100 people because of vaccine shortages.

"We need everyone's cooperation, especially the handful of countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines," he said in an appeal to 20 large economies. "The G20 has a vital leadership role to play as the countries that are the biggest producers, the biggest consumers and the biggest donors of COVID-19 vaccines."

He urged them to make "concrete commitments to support global vaccination targets."

"We call on everyone with influence, [including] Olympic athletes, investors, business leaders, faith leaders and every individual in their own family and community, to support our call for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September," said Tedros.

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