Wednesday 8 September 2021 4:53 pm

WHO boss: Wealthy nations should pause booster Covid jab rollout until 2022

The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on wealthy cations with plentiful Covid jab supplies to delay booster shots until the end of the year.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hit back at claims vaccine supplies were high enough to allow for both booster jabs and vaccinations in countries facing shortages.

“I will not stay silent when companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers,” Dr Tedros told journalists.

The health chief called for a global extension of a moratorium on booster doses until at least the end of the year to enable every country to vaccinate at least 40 per cent of its population.

The government will begin booster jabs for some half a million immunosuppressed adults this month, following approval from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Anyone over the age of 12 who was immunosuppressed at the time of their first or second dose of the Covid vaccine, including those with leukaemia, advanced HIV, or recent organ transplants, will be offered the third dose.

The vaccine watchdog is set to make a decision on a Covid booster programme on Thursday, with the government ready to rollout booster jabs immediately if approved.

Last week, the JCVI declared that the evidence of the clinical benefits of vaccinating 12-to 15-year-olds was not strong enough to recommend extending the vaccine programme to this age group.