Should vaccine boosters be postponed?

Many countries in the Northern Hemisphere are planning to give their citizens third shots of Covid vaccine in the next few months, and Israel has already started. But the World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling for a temporary stop to the boosters so vaccines can be distributed more evenly and the global vaccination rate increased to ten percent. The current average in African countries is just two percent. Commentators disagree, saying this strategy would be ineffective.

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Virus makes no distinction between poor and rich

The WHO's plan is impractical, says the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:

“The world is deeply unjust, and Covid is highlighting this fact like a magnifying glass. But even the governments of rich countries are not simply behaving immorally when they put their own populations first. ... Simply putting a moratorium on booster vaccinations is therefore quixotic, and all the more so if combined with the assumption that something fundamental could change in the global vaccination gap within two months. ... People with weakened immune systems have a particularly legitimate claim to a booster shot.”

Le Temps (CH) /

Suspend patents, boost production

The 11 billion vaccine doses promised by the pharmaceutical industry for 2021 are not enough, Le Temps warns:

“This is still insufficient to meet the growing demand - and especially to cope with new variants. Drastically increasing production and achieving herd immunity are the ultimate goals. This means waiving patent protection is necessary to mobilise all production capacities in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Morocco, Brazil, Argentina and elsewhere. The only way to ensure access to vaccines now and in the future is by creating partnerships for their production. Africa and other poorer regions of the world are not asking for fish - they are asking to be allowed to fish.”