World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Wednesday that blanket booster programs in wealthy countries risk prolonging the world’s battle with COVID-19. With many nations falling short of minimum vaccination targets, he said the priority must be to reduce deaths and help all countries access COVID-19 jabs, adding that “the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people, not unboosted people.” Still, the WHO chief cautioned that vaccinated people must remain vigilant when it comes to catching COVID-19 and not embrace a “false sense of security” from the “vaccines.” He continued, declaring:

“No country can boost its way out of the pandemic. Blanket booster programs are likely to prolong the pandemic rather than ending it by diverting supply to countries that already have high levels of vaccination coverage, giving the virus more opportunity to spread and mutate.” 

Previously, to alleviate unequal vaccine distribution, Tedros called for a suspension of boosters for healthy adults until next year. At Wednesday’s news conference, he said that while many countries are far from reaching the 40 percent coverage target by the end of 2021, other countries have vaccinated well beyond this threshold, already reaching children and implementing extensive booster vaccination programs.

Still, currently, approximately 20 percent of the vaccine doses being administered each day are either additional doses or boosters. With 3.5 million lives lost to COVID-19 in 2021, the WHO maintains that unequal vaccine sharing has “cost many lives.” The WHO’s public health goals for administering booster shots fall behind the goal of widespread vaccine distribution. The WHO explains:

These goals and vaccine use cases [boosters] should be pursued only when priority risk groups have full access to vaccines in order to achieve the primary objective of substantial reduction in severe disease and mortality.

Expressing that “no country or region is out of the woods,” the WHO chief warned that “all of us need to take extra precautions” as Omicron spreads around the globe. He also highlighted the importance of ensuring the “right measures are in place to avert the worst consequences of any future waves.” Tedros advised at the press conference: 

In many countries and communities, we are concerned about the false sense of security that vaccines have ended the pandemic and that people who are vaccinated do not need to take any other precautions.

While pointing out the vast majority of “current infections and COVID-19 cases are observed in unvaccinated people,” the WHO press statement outlines clear evidence of waning protection from the primary COVID-19 vaccination series. The WHO has already recommended that an additional dose be added to some “inactivated vaccines (CoronaVac and COVID-19 BIBP)” to those 60 years and older as part of the primary series to make initial vaccine-induced immunity “more robust.” As studies consistently demonstrate the short-term effect of the “vaccines,” the WHO explains:

However, emerging data consistently show a decline in vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV2 infection and COVID-19 with time since vaccination and more significant decline in older adults. This evidence is mostly based on observational studies that may be subject to confounding factors.

Based on a recent systematic review and meta-regression analysis, across the four WHO EUL COVID-19 vaccines with the most data (i.e., BNT162b2, mRNA 1273, Ad26.COV2.S, and ChAdOx1-S [recombinant] vaccine), vaccine effectiveness against severe COVID-19 decreased by about 8% (95% confidence interval (CI): 4-15%) over a period of 6 months in all age groups. In adults above 50 years, vaccine effectiveness against severe disease decreased by about 10% (95% CI: 6–15%) over the same period. Vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease decreased by 32% (95% CI: 11 – 69%) for those above 50 years of age.

The WHO deduces that as studies evolve and more data is needed, introducing booster doses should be “firmly evidence-driven and targeted to the population groups at highest risk of serious disease and those necessary to protect the health system.” The focus of COVID-19 immunization efforts must remain on decreasing death and severe disease and protecting the health care system. 

In stark contrast to the United States—which plans to inject children as young as six months with the experimental COVID-19 “vaccines”—the WHO currently does not recommend children and adolescents receive the COVID-19 “vaccine.” Without question, the organization maintains the “burden of severe disease in these age groups is low,” and high vaccination coverage has not yet been achieved in all countries among those groups who are at the highest risk of severe disease. Renewing a call for pharmaceutical companies and other countries to prioritize the equitable distribution of COVID-19 “vaccines,” Tedros proclaimed:

“Unless we vaccinate the whole world … I don’t think we can end this pandemic.” But he added that authorities now know the virus better and have effective tools to fight it; “we need to add to that comprehensive implementation and equity, and hope 2022 will end this pandemic.

[Vaccination] focus should be on groups who have a severe risk of disease and death. Rather than, as we see, some countries are using to give boosters to kill children, which is not right. Instead of boosting a child in high-income countries, it’s better to vaccinate the elderly in countries who have not been vaccinated with even the primary vaccines.”