France plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to the most vulnerable and elderly populations as soon as next month, disregarding a call from the World Health Organization (WHO) for a moratorium on the shots until more people are vaccinated across the globe.
“Yes, we will probably need a third dose, not for everyone straight away but at any rate for the elderly and the most vulnerable,” France’s President Emmanuel Macron said on social media.
Macron confirmed that the country is rolling out a third dose of the CCP virus vaccine as of September, not specifying a date. The boosters are currently only available to people with weakened immune systems.
The president’s statement comes a day after the WHO said it wants a “moratorium on boosters” until the end of September at the very least to make sure that 10 percent of every country’s population has received a dose. More than 80 percent of the world’s vaccine supplies have gone to wealthier countries for less than half the world’s population.
“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant, but we cannot and should not accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it while the world’s most vulnerable people remain unprotected,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference on Aug. 4.
Germany and the UK have both also recently announced that they plan to offer a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as next month.
The booster shots in Germany are for risk groups that include immunocompromised patients, the very elderly, and nursing home residents, the health ministry said, adding that it would also donate at least 30 million vaccine doses to poorer countries. In Britain, booster shots will initially be given to the immunocompromised.
Meanwhile, in Israel, a third booster shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech CCP virus vaccine was offered to citizens aged 60 and above last week, with the rollout fully kicking off on Aug. 1.
The drive comes as governments around the world attempt to mitigate the spread of the so-called Delta variant of the CCP virus. Last month, Israel’s health ministry twice reported a drop in vaccine efficacy—as well as a slight decrease in protection against severe disease.
France and Germany have so far given at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 64.5 percent and 62 percent of their respective populations, with 49 percent of the French and 53 percent of Germans fully vaccinated.
Last week, tens of thousands of people turned out in dozens of French cities and demonstrated against a special “health pass.”
Most of the protests were peaceful, but there were a few sporadic clashes. The so-called health pass system—likened to vaccine passports—was approved by the French parliament last week, with the law going into effect on Aug. 9. The pass will be required soon to enter restaurants and other places.
Isabel van Brugen and Reuters contributed to this report.
From NTD News