World Health Organization (Covid boosters) in rich countries will create a US$3 billion shortfall, WHO warns

The World Health Organization has warned that the world will face a shortage of 3 billion Covid-19 vaccines by early next year if rich countries “aggressively” increase immunization for adults and open Expanding childhood immunization, further impeding vaccination deployment in poorer countries, warns the World Health Organization.

In an attempt to overtake Omicron, the coronavirus variant first detected in southern Africa last month, wealthier nations have begun to ramp up on a massive scale. But only about 7% of people living in low-income countries have received at least one dose of any kind. And 98 countries – about half of them globally – have fallen short of WHO’s goal of immunizing 40% of their populations.

“There is a scenario where countries with high coverage use a lot of doses to vaccinate children and provide booster doses for all. . . This could lead to limited supply in the first half of 2022, said Tania Cernuschi, technical lead for WHO’s global vaccine strategy. “The gap in the first quarter of 2022 could be around 3 billion. .”

Vaccine supply is expected to be in short supply by early 2022. The chart shows the number of doses expected to be given set out in different scenarios.  There could be a 3 billion dose shortfall in the first quarter of 2022 if richer nations aggressively make boosters available to all and expand childhood immunization, further stifling immunization programs in poorer countries

“Obviously, if there is also a reserve of dosage in the face of uncertainties[on Omicron and vaccine efficacy]this could exacerbate the situation,” she told the Financial Times. “That’s a likely scenario given the impressive growth in the number of pediatric and advanced programs.”

About 120 countries have already started ramping up programs, she said, and 30 are vaccinating children.

Preliminary data suggest driving factors BioNTech / Pfizer shot can enhance protection against Omicron variation. Preliminary evidence also suggests two shots of certain vaccines can still protect against severe disease, although there is still no consensus among scientists.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the WHO, said on Tuesday that an indiscriminate boost without substantial evidence to back it up would “repeat the vaccine hoarding we’ve seen this year and make it worse.” exacerbate inequality”.

Members of the public line up outside a vaccine center in the UK
The UK’s goal to give everyone over 18 a booster shot by the end of the year has resulted in long wait times for people wanting to get the shot © Jeff J Mitchell / Getty

Currently, WHO recommends a third dose of any WHO-approved vaccine for immunocompromised individuals. It has also recommended a boost for Chinese vaccine recipients over 60, when supplies allow. It has said that vaccines should be used in conjunction with public health measures, such as the use of masks, to be most effective.

The UK says it will head towards provides a boost shot for everyone over the age of 18 at the end of the year, with a minimum interval of three months – a shorter period than in other countries. Other high-income countries, including the US and some EU member states, have also expanded their ramped-up deployments.

WHO’s Cernuschi said that if richer countries all extend their booster programs to all citizens, supply will continue to be “very, very tight” in the second quarter. But she stressed that WHO estimates that supplies will “continue to grow” over the next few months at a rapid rate and improve in the second half of next year.

She added that most of the scenarios projected by the health authority, such as those in which it becomes necessary to promote high-risk populations, would still show under-supply. meet demand from the beginning of next year.

Inequality in the global distribution of vaccines has become so severe that some observers have called the disparity “vaccine racism”. The WHO earlier this year urged countries to give up boosters to help alleviate imbalances in global coverage but rich countries have mostly ignored that plea.

Global health authorities have long warned that high transmission, coupled with uneven vaccine coverage, could accelerate the emergence of more troublesome strains of bacteria.

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