Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that more people in America are currently receiving booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccines than are getting their first shot or are becoming fully vaccinated each day. While that news is good for public health as a whole, it still troubles many health professionals, including those in leadership at some of the world’s biggest medical institutions.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), considers the practice of distributing these vaccine boosters when inoculations in countries across Africa lag to be unethical, according to a new report from CNN’s Jack Guy and Mostafa Salem.
In an interview with CNN on Oct. 12, Ghebreyesus said the practice was “immoral, unfair and unjust and it has to stop.”
“To start boosters is really the worst we can do as a global community,” he added. “It is unjust and also unfair because we will not stop the pandemic by ignoring a whole continent, and the continent that doesn’t have any manufacturing capacity of other means.”
While WHO has gone on the record recommending booster shots for immunocompromised people, Ghebreyesus said the group does strongly oppose “the widespread use of booster shots until more of the world gets vaccinated with a first round of COVID-19 shots.”
Despite regional hiccups, global vaccination against the illness is progressing at a steady rate. WHO said more than 50% of the population in South America, North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and its surrounding region has received at least a single vaccine dose. However, in Africa, that number is only 7%.
Sadly, that disparity will likely only continue to increase in the coming months as more boosters are approved for use, and more and more people become eligible to receive them.