WHO leader opposes ‘widespread’ use of COVID-19 booster shots for healthy people

Coronavirus

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BERLIN (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization says he opposes “widespread use of boosters” for healthy people for now, underscoring the need to get doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to poorer countries.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke in Berlin on Wednesday. He says the U.N. health agency last week witnessed the first decline in new global cases in more than two months.

He says, “this is obviously very welcome but it doesn’t mean much,” since many countries are still seeing steep increases and “shocking inequities” in access to vaccines.

Tedros says he’s called for a moratorium on booster shots at least until the end of September “to allow those countries that are furthest behind to catch up.”

He says “third doses may be necessary for the most at-risk populations, where there is evidence of waning immunity against severe disease and death.” He cites the “very small group” of immunocompromised people who didn’t respond sufficiently to their original shots or are no longer producing antibodies.

Tedros adds: “But for now, we do not want to see widespread use of boosters for healthy people who are fully vaccinated.”

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