Citing global vaccine inequity, the head of the World Health Organization on Wednesday called on wealthy nations to halt the distribution of COVID-19 booster shots.
"We need an urgent reversal from the majority of vaccines going to high income countries to the majority going to low-income countries. Accordingly, WHO is calling for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September to enable at least 10 percent of the population of every country to be vaccinated."
He acknowledged concerns stemming from the highly transmissible Delta variant, but reiterated that countries that have already used most of the global supply should not be using even more of it,. while the world's most vulnerable remain unprotected.
According to health experts, the need for a more equitable distribution of vaccines comes as more strains will emerge unless more of the world's population is immunized.
They cite the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, after the original strain was allowed to spread, replicate and ultimately mutate, due to the lack of vaccine availability.
Countries like Israel and Germany have already provided booster shots, while others like Haiti only recently secured their first batches.
The WHO says the duration of the moratorium request could be extended if vaccine rates in countries with low rates do not increase.
Meanwhile, the European Commission on Wednesday announced it has approved a supply contract with U.S. firm Novavax to buy up to 200 million doses of its vaccine.
The move comes as the EU is trying to diversify its vaccine portfolio, which has been heavily reliant on Pfizer and Moderna so far.
EU states will be able to buy up to 100 million doses, with an option for an additional 100 million through 2023, once it has been approved by EU regulators.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.