Uruguay's Health Minister Daniel Salinas Thursday denied his country was to change course in its coronavirus immunization drive despite the World Health Organization's (WHO) requested that countries with a surplus of vaccines should donate them before applying the third dose.
Negative, central, said Salinas during a seminar on teen suicide, which is the country's leading cause of death among people aged between 15 and 24.
On Wednesday, WHO had called for the application of a third dose to be halted together with the immunization of teenagers in developed countries so that there were vaccines to be given to at least 10% of the population of each country, which would thus protect those most at risk of developing a serious disease and dying.
WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a pause would allow for at least 10% of the population in every country to be vaccinated, at a time countries such as Israel, Germany and France have announced plans for a third dose, while low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people due to a lack of supply.
“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant. But we cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it,” said the WHO chief.
In Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo, none of the population has received two doses of the vaccine. Indonesia, which has seen infections and deaths spike in recent months due to the Delta variant, has only fully vaccinated 7.9% of its population, according to Our World in Data.
Despite the WHO's pleas, several countries are pressing ahead with plans to vaccinate children and teenagers.
For instance, the Argentine province of Buenos Aires alone vaccinated more than 30,000 patients between 12 and 17 years old in the first two days immunizers were made available for that age group this week. Priority was given according to comorbidities and health conditions.