About six other countries are considering this idea. WHO Chief Scientist Sumia Swaminathan said at a press conference on Monday that if these countries also start to provide booster injections, “this will require an additional 800 million doses of vaccine.”
WHO Director-General Tan Desai said that these doses should be provided to countries where vaccines are hardly available. He condemned the first-line workers and elderly in poor countries in rich and middle-income countries for considering the third dose when they have not yet received the first dose. Some countries have not yet started mass vaccination campaigns. He said: “Currently, data shows that vaccination can provide lasting immunity against the severe and deadly covid-19.” “The first task now must be to vaccinate those who are not vaccinated and protected.”
Craig Spencer, global health director of emergency medicine at the New York Presbyterian Church/Columbia University Medical Center, put it more bluntly. He said on Twitter: “No matter what the pharmaceutical company tells you, you don’t need a Covid-19 booster more urgently than all the healthcare workers in the world who have not yet received a vaccine.”
This is not to say that we don’t need boosters in the end. Swaminathan of the WHO said: “It is very likely that you will need a booster in one or two years.” Wherry pointed out that it is a good thing to be prepared. But he has not seen any data to convince him that it is necessary to use boosters now. “Emerging data shows that immunity is strong,” he said.