The World Health Organization has said Covid-19 booster vaccines are not necessary and called on countries with high vaccination rates to donate surplus vaccines to poorer countries rather than administering third doses.
The WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove said low vaccination rates are a major driver of infection, meaning priority should be given to vaccinating a larger proportion of the world.
She said: “Many of the places around the world where delta is surging – even in countries that at a national level have high levels of vaccination coverage – the virus, the delta variant itself, is really circulating in areas of low level of vaccine coverage and in the context of very limited and inconsistent use of public health and social measures.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it recommends that all double-jabbed Americans be eligible for a third dose.
The booster shots will initially be given to healthcare workers, nursing home residents and the elderly.
Around 58 per cent of people in high-income countries have received at least one vaccine dose, while the number in low-income countries stands at just 1.3 per cent.