WHO: Blanket booster use will increase vaccine-inequity | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned countries against blanket use of booster shots of Covid vaccines, saying it will not bring a definite end to the global pandemic, rather prolong it, as persisting vaccine inequity can help the virus with more opportunities to spread and mutate through countries with poorer vaccination coverage.
“No country can boost its way out of the pandemic and boosters cannot be seen as ticket to go ahead with the planned celebrations without the need for other precautions,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization has also issued interim guidance on booster doses, expressing concern that mass programmes by countries that can afford them will exacerbate vaccine inequity. It concluded that focus of immunisation must remain on decreasing deaths and severe illness.
Currently, 20% of all vaccine doses administered are being given as boosters or additional doses, Tedros said. “Blanket booster programmes are likely to prolong the pandemic by diverting supply to countries that already have high levels of vaccination coverage, giving the virus more opportunity to spread and mutate,” he added.
He said the priority must be on supporting countries to vaccinate 40% of their populations as quickly as possible, and 70% by the middle of 2022. “It’s important to remember that the majority of hospitalisations and deaths are in unvaccinated people, not un-boosted people.”
Tedros said with improved supplies globally, projections show that supplies should be sufficient to vaccinate the entire global adult population and give boosters to high risk populations by the first quarter of 2022. However, only later in 2022 will supplies be sufficient for extensive use of boosters in all adults.