The World Health Organization criticized the rollout of booster programs as many poor nations haven’t even gotten first doses yet and warned that more variants have the potential to develop under these conditions.
"Blanket booster programs are likely to prolong the pandemic, rather than ending it, by diverting supply to countries that already have high levels of vaccination coverage, giving the virus more opportunity to spread and mutate," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "No country can boost its way out of the pandemic.”
The WHO director’s comments echo what some public health experts have also been saying.
“Africa right now is essentially a superincubator,” said Andrea Taylor, assistant director of programs at the Duke Global Health Innovation Center, a leading authority on global vaccine supply.
And the emergence of a new variant “is exactly what experts have been warning about for months," she said. "We saw what happened with India, which gave rise to the delta variant. And we said, 'Look, this is going to happen in Africa where there is uncontrolled transmission.'” […]
“While we still need to know more about omicron, we do know that as long as large portions of the world’s population are unvaccinated, variants will continue to appear, and the pandemic will continue to be prolonged,” Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a leading partner in the global vaccine sharing program COVAX, said in an email. (NBC News)
The warning comes as the White House is aggressively pushing booster shots and as Israel announced those over 60 are eligible for a fourth Covid-19 jab.
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