No one knows if a vaccine booster shot will even be needed, but the World Health Organization wants everyone to know they’re on the case.
The WHO is calling for a moratorium on giving a third vaccine shot — a “booster shot” — to extend the protection against COVID-19. The reason is that poor countries have yet to give even one shot to most of their people.
And that just isn’t fair.
Studies on how long the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccine shots are effective are incomplete. It’s been about a year since volunteers in the third-stage clinical trials received their doses of vaccine and the data so far suggests that some people may need a booster. This presents a whole new set of problems for public health officials who must decide sometime in the next month or two whether booster shots will be recommended and who should get them.
Israel has been giving booster shots since last week and Germany announced it would begin offering booster shots in September. The European Union is wrestling with its conscience, trying to justify giving rich citizens a third vaccine shot while billions have yet to receive any.
But in matters of life and death, it’s rarely “women, children, and poor people” first.
As the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus is becoming dominant in country after country, Israel has started giving a third shot to its most vulnerable people, while the German and French governments have said they intend to soon.
Authorities are also concerned that the protection given by vaccines and previous infections could wane over time in a way that could put people at risk again as winter approaches in the Northern Hemisphere.
Even if a booster shot becomes necessary, it’s not at all clear that a lot of vaccinated people will need it. It may be that only the most vulnerable — the old and those with heart and lung conditions that make someone susceptible to serious illness — will need another jab.
The WHO is complaining that the rich nations of the West are hoarding the vaccines for their own people. That’s probably true, but what does the WHO want these nations to do? Hand over their sovereignty to the health bureaucrats in Zurich and let them determine who gets jabbed and who doesn’t?
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“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant, but we cannot and should not accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it while the world’s most vulnerable people remain unprotected,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.
“Accordingly, WHO is calling for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September to enable at least 10% of the population of every country to be vaccinated,” he said.
He said more than 80% of global vaccine supplies had gone to richer countries accounting for less than half of the world’s population.
He said many people in poor countries can’t afford to eat if they fall ill and can’t work. The WHO argues that 10% population coverage is needed to protect health workers and the oldest people most at risk of dying from Covid-19. But 40% coverage, which the agency targets for the end of the year, would be needed to capture everyone over 50.
Developed nations will ignore the WHO, as well they should. This isn’t a social studies exercise in “fairness.” It’s the real world. For some people, that third shot may be the difference between life and death. Tedros may want to play God in that fashion but most Western leaders who are, after all, answerable to their voters, will decline the honor.
The bottom line: If people in the U.S. need a third shot, they are damn well going to get a third shot. Tedros can posture and emote all he wants and the radicals in this country can weep for the poor in Third World countries being exploited by the rich evil Westerners all they wish. Biden will make sure Americans get what they need or he will lose in a landslide in 2024.