WHO calls for moratorium on booster shots

The head of the World Health Organization has called on countries to refrain from administering booster shots of coronavirus vaccine until at least the end of the year so that developing nations can secure more doses.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the request at a news conference on Wednesday.

He said the WHO has set a target of every country having vaccinated at least 10 percent of its population by the end of September. He noted that almost 90 percent of high-income nations have cleared the target, but not a single low-income country has reached it.

Tedros said high-income countries have donated less than 15 percent of the doses they promised to the COVAX Facility, the international framework for vaccine distribution.

He said, "We don't want any more promises. We just want the vaccines."

Developed nations and some others have moved to give people a third shot amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. Tedros called on those countries to suspend the booster doses until at least the end of the year to enable every country to vaccinate at least 40 percent of its population.

Last month, the WHO called for a global moratorium on booster shots until the end of this month.