Home / News / World /  Blanket booster dose plans won't end Covid: WHO

Omicron threat: Blanket Covid booster dose programmes are likely to prolong the pandemic, rather than ending it, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday. 

"Blanket booster programmes 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," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing. 

His statement comes at a time when many countries have announced booster dose to their population as highly infectious Omicron variant are spreading rapidly. 

Tedros said it’s important to remember that the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths are in "unvaccinated people, not un-boosted people". "And we must be very clear that the vaccines we have remain effective against both the Delta & Omicron variants." he said.

Tedros said the global priority must be to support all countries to reach the 40% target as quickly as possible, and the 70% target by the middle of this year.

"No country can boost its way out of the pandemic. And boosters cannot be seen as a ticket to go ahead with planned celebrations, without the need for other precautions," he said. 

Tedors further said hat while some countries are rolling out blanket booster programmes, only half of WHO’s member states have been able to reach the target of vaccinating 40% of their populations by the end of the year, because of distortions in global supply.

"Enough vaccines were administered globally this year that the 40% target could have been reached in every country by September, if those vaccines had been distributed equitably, through #COVAX and AVAT."

"We’re encouraged that supply is improving. Today, COVAX shipped its 800 millionth vaccine dose. Half of those doses have been shipped in the past three months. Our projections show that supply should be sufficient to vaccinate the entire global adult population, and to give boosters to high-risk populations, by the first quarter of 2022. However, only later in 2022 will supply be sufficient for extensive use of boosters in all adults," he said.


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