To the Editor — On 4 August 2021, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, called for a global moratorium on booster doses of vaccination against COVID-19, until the end of September, with a goal of having 10% of every nation’s population vaccinated. This comes on the heels of both Israel and Germany starting vaccine campaigns of a third dose, and provinces such as Quebec, Canada, giving third doses to provide an easier pathway for international travel. In the United States, on 12 August 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized booster doses for certain immunocompromised people.
As more rich nations consider boosters, their local public-health communities need to wake up to the widening chasm of vaccine inequity and its devastating consequences, especially with the Delta variant ripping through populations. All of us need to look within and ask hard questions. Are we as a species willing to protect all humankind, or do we mostly care about optimizing protection for people in wealthy nations?
Any discussion of booster dose strategies requires an application of scientific as well as equity principles.
Confirmed Omicron cases, deaths, and admissions
France, Israel, Denmark, and Ireland have the highest cases per capita of Omicron in the world. This shows what happens with massive surges of virus spread, even ones with 60-70% less severity.
Source: Dr. Eric Topol, Scripps Institute