Booster Shots Make ‘Mockery of Vaccine Equity,’ WHO Official Says

The rollout of Covid-19 booster shots by a growing number of wealthy nations makes a “mockery of vaccine equity,” World Health Organization Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said.

“High-income countries have already, on average, administered more than 103 Covid-19 vaccine doses per 100 people, whereas in Africa that number stands at six,” Moeti told reporters during a weekly virtual briefing on Thursday.

Nations from Israel to the U.S. have either started administering booster shots or plan to as the contagious delta variant threatens efforts to end the pandemic. Health officials across Africa have warned against doing so with less than 2% of the continent fully vaccinated against the virus.

Booster Shots Make ‘Mockery of Vaccine Equity,’ WHO Official Says

The decision to use boosters comes as the number of cases are rising across the continent and some nations are battling multiple viruses. Both Ivory Coast and Guinea are dealing with outbreaks of viral haemorrhagic fevers. This highlights the “multitude of challenges countries are facing in parallel to the pandemic,” Moeti said.

“When we’re facing three outbreaks at the same time, for any health system it’s a very difficult situation to be in,” said Ivory Coast’s Health Minister Pierre Dimba during the same briefing. He expects the nation’s previous experience in dealing with Ebola to put it in a better position to respond to the current outbreak.

Ivory Coast also has a bird flu outbreak near the economic capital Abidjan.

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