Booster Race Leaves Billions Behind

People queue up yesterday to get a COVID-19 jab in Worli village in Mumbai, India. Image: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
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People queue up yesterday to get a COVID-19 jab in Worli village in Mumbai, India. Image: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Some rich countries are moving ahead on COVID-19 booster shots, while 3.5 billion people are still waiting in line to get their first jab, Amy Maxmen writes inNature.
 
If the 11 wealthy countries that have committed to or are considering booster distribution gave the additional jabs to everyone 50+, that would take 440 million doses from the global supply. If all high- and upper-middle-income countries were to do so, that number would double.
 
2 issues:

  • No one knows how much additional protection a booster would provide to the average person.
  • Leaving large populations unvaccinated invites the emergence of new variants.

 
“Instead of solving the problem by vaccinating the world and cutting off new variants, rich countries seem prepared to fork over more money for boosters, and live in a state of endless fear,” said Achal Prabhala, with the nonprofit AccessIBSA project in Bengaluru, India.
 
Who’s moving on boosters?

  • Germany will start vaccinating older people, those in nursing homes, and people with compromised immune systems as early as September.
  • Most Swedes will have access to boosters in 2022, and those at high risk can get them this fall, according to Reuters.
  • Early last month, the US decided to hold on any booster plans, but it bought last week another 200 million Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines that could be used for booster shots.
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