The World Health Organization (WHO) is extending its request for a moratorium on COVID-19 booster shots until the end of this year.
The group previously asked for countries to not roll out additional doses until the end of September so that other countries can get the shots that have not had as much access to them.
“There has been little change in the global situation since then, so today I am calling for an extension of the moratorium until at least the end of the year to enable every country to vaccinate at least 40% of its population,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing Wednesday, per CNBC.
According to the organization, around 5.5 billion vaccine doses have been administered around the world, but 80% have been distributed in high- or upper-middle income nations.
“I will not stay silent when the companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers,” Tedros said.
“High-income countries have promised to donate more than 1 billion doses, but less than 15% of those doses have been materialized,” Tedros said. “Manufacturers have promised to prioritize COVAX and low-income countries.”
“We don’t want any more promises, we just want the vaccines,” Tedros added. “We have the tools, it’s clear what needs to happens, now is the time for true leadership, not empty promises.”
The Biden administration previously set a deadline for making some boosters available to the majority of adults by September 20 —contingent on FDA approval — but reports show that senior health officials are telling the administration the rollout cannot happen as planned due to lack of data.
As The New York Times reported last week, Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, who leads the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told the White House that their agencies might be able to decide if they will recommend additional doses in the next few weeks just for people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine, and potentially only for certain people.
“The two health leaders made their argument in a meeting with Jeffrey D. Zients, the White House pandemic coordinator,” the Times reported.
When asked about the meeting, a White House spokesman said, per the outlet, “We always said we would follow the science, and this is all part of a process that is now underway,” noting that the administration was waiting for “full review and approval” of booster doses by the FDA and a recommendation from the CDC.
As The Daily Wire reported, just last month, President Joe Biden made the announcement that his administration was getting ready to begin booster shots starting the week of September 20th, depending on FDA approval.
“The booster plan has also been controversial among some federal regulators, who believe that, by setting a date for the COVID-19 booster plan rollout before the data was fully reviewed, the Biden administration was interfering in the vaccine’s regulatory process,” The Daily Wire noted. “Two top FDA officials also recently announced they would be stepping down. Although the reason for their departures has not been clear, POLITICO reports, citing a former FDA official, they may have been motivated by anger about the administration’s decision to weigh in on boosters too soon.”
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