About half a dozen other countries are considering the idea. If those countries also start offering intensified injections, “an additional 800 million doses of the vaccine will be needed,” said WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan at a news briefing on Monday.
Those doses should go to countries that had little access to vaccines, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He condemned rich and middle-income countries for considering a third dose when front-line workers and older adults in poor countries had not yet received the first dose. Some countries have yet to launch mass vaccination campaigns. “Currently, the data show us that vaccination offers long-lasting immunity against the serious and deadly covid-19,” he said. “The priority now must be to vaccinate those who have not received any doses and protection.”
Craig Spencer, director of Global Emergency Medicine at New York-Presbyterian / Columbia University Medical Center, said more openly. “No matter what pharmaceutical companies tell you, you don’t need the Covid-19 booster more urgently than all the healthcare professionals around the world who haven’t had access to the vaccine yet,” he tweeted.
That doesn’t mean we won’t finally need amplifiers. “It could be that you need amplifiers after a year or two,” Swaminathan told the WHO. Wherry notes that it’s good to be prepared. But he saw no data to convince him that the reinforced demands had been stepped up now. “New data show that the immunity is strong,” he says.