María Neira, from the World Health Organization (WHO), rejected the idea of a third dose of vaccines until distribution is more equitable.
María Neira, director of Public Health at the World Health Organization (WHO), said it’s reasonable to think that –if the process of vaccination continues as it has done so far– the pandemic could be under control by the end of March 2022, providing a normality “close” to what we had before.
According to the WHO director, the outlook for the pandemic for the next six months is very positive.
What’s more, she rejected the need for a third dose of the vaccine until distribution becomes more equitable.
“Two years is the period we have set for ourselves, and it will certainly be a reasonable period. If we are vaccinated as quickly as we have so far, we can see, even earlier, the way out of this massive situation,” said María Neira in an interview with the Spanish radio station RAC1.
The WHO also recognizes that there are still countries which are very behind with vaccination and that the pandemic won’t be over until everyone has the vaccine.
Similarly, the Director of Public Health at the WHO also explained that it is not necessary to administer a third dose to the general public right now and that it shouldn’t be applied until there is a higher percentage of vaccinated people around the world.
“We have asked for a moratorium, to wait, at least, until next year, until we have more information and evidence and until 40% of the world population can have a first dose. For us, the third dose can be postponed for now.”
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“I’m appalled that they want to push for a third vaccine when there still aren’t enough data to substantiate how long the complete vaccination is effective for,” says virologist Susana López Charretón.
The scientist from the Institute of Biotechnology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) points out in an interview for Tec Review that “administering a third vaccine ‘just in case’ is terrible if you consider the overall context of the country and the world.”
She adds that, “Thinking on a national level, we still haven’t fully vaccinated even 25% of the population.” On a global level, that percentage is smaller.
“There isn’t enough vaccine being produced for everyone and providing a third vaccine or booster shot to people who are already fully vaccinated doesn’t seem fair to me.”
According to López Charretón, you can’t begin to give out a third dose when there are people who haven’t had a first.
“There are still countries without vaccines. They can’t afford them. The demand has been so high that vaccine manufacturers can’t keep up. That’s why pushing for third vaccines is very selfish,” she explains.
An article published in Nature also notes that scientists say the need for vaccine boosters is not yet clear.
“Wasting resources on boosters for those who are already protected against severe illness doesn’t really make much sense,” says Laith Jamal Abu-Raddad, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar in Doha, quoted in Nature. (With information from RAC1)