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WHO: Get COVID-19 Vaccines to Poor Nations Instead of Making Booster Shots

Advocacy group ONE Campaign says only 1 percent of people in poor countries have received even one COVID-19 vaccine dose

TUESDAY, July 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) — COVID-19 vaccine makers such as Pfizer should focus on getting shots to poor countries instead of trying to persuade wealthy nations to give their citizens booster shots, World Health Organization officials said at a press briefing held Monday.

Despite a lack of evidence that third doses of vaccines are necessary, drug companies are lobbying the United States and other Western countries to buy and distribute third doses as boosters, the Associated Press reported.

On Monday, representatives from Pfizer lobbied officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the need for booster shots of its two-dose vaccine, even though many experts are skeptical most people will ever need one. In the meantime, only 1 percent of people in poor countries have received even one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to Tom Hart, acting CEO of the advocacy group ONE Campaign. “The idea that a healthy, vaccinated person can get a booster shot before a nurse or grandmother in South Africa can get a single jab is outrageous,” he told the AP.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that global disparities in vaccine supply are largely being driven by greed. He urged Pfizer and Moderna to “go all out to supply COVAX, the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, and low- and middle-income countries with very little coverage.” COVAX is an initiative to distribute vaccines globally. Pfizer and Moderna have each agreed to supply small amounts of COVID-19 vaccine to developing nations through COVAX, but most of their shots have been reserved by rich countries, the AP said.

Associated Press Article

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