A third-dose booster shot of the Covid-19 vaccination is a way to keep the most vulnerable safe and is “not a luxury,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
This is a turnaround from earlier this month, when it said that data did not indicate a need for booster shots, and that topping up already fully vaccinated people would further increase vaccine inequity between the rich and the lower-income countries.
“A third dose of vaccine is not a luxury booster that is taken away from someone who is still waiting for a first jab. It’s basically a way to keep the most vulnerable safe,” said Hans Kluge, head of WHO Europe, at a press briefing.
He also said an increase in Covid-19 transmission rates across Europe over the last two weeks, combined with low levels of vaccination in some countries, was “deeply worrying.”
“Last week, there was an 11 percent increase in the number of deaths in the region – one reliable projection is expecting 236,000 deaths in Europe by Dec 1,” he told reporters, adding that “the stagnation in vaccine uptake in our region is of serious concern.” [Reuters]