The announcement on Wednesday by the U.S. health officials that booster shots against Covid-19 will be offered to all Americans beginning next month has drawn some criticism since there is a huge imbalance of vaccines in many poorer nations who are unable to battle for new and potentially deadlier variants of the coronavirus.
As President Biden’s administration released its plan, officials and scientists of the World Health Organization and public health experts called the decision “immoral” and “unconscionable.”
“We’re planning to hand out extra life jackets to people who already have life jackets, while we’re leaving other people to drown without a single life jacket,” Dr. Michael Ryan, the emergencies chief at WHO said.
The director general of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “It’s unconscionable that some #COVID19 vaccine-producing companies are reporting record profits, and some countries are offering boosters, while so many people remain unprotected.” He wrote on Twitter, “No one is safe until everyone is safe.”
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the regional director of Africa for WHO, also expressed her concern that the vaccination disparities between richer and poorer countries will only worsen because “as some richer countries hoard vaccines, they make a mockery of vaccine equity.”
The director of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) addressed the criticisms on Thursday about the U.S. prioritizing already vaccinated people.
“I don’t think this is a choice in terms of if we have to choose one or the other. We’re going to do both and we have been doing both,” Walensky said, adding that the U.S. anticipates giving 100 million booster shots by the end of the year, while distributing 200 million vaccines worldwide.
However, Dr. Madhukar Pai, the Canada research chair in epidemiology and global health at McGill University in Montreal, warned that the longer all nations don’t have enough vaccines, the more devastating the effects will be globally.
“Without vaccine protection, no country can handle the delta variant,” he said. “We will see massive surges and the risk of even worse variants.”