In an interview with the BBC on Wednesday, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, called for a drastic reduction in vaccination rates, saying that an increase in young girls receiving the vaccine “leads to an escalation of our child mortality.” He explained that a vaccine booster would not eliminate underdeveloped countries, but “I believe in the future it will need to be carried out for about one or two years.”
As it stands, it is not uncommon for children to miss out on the booster shot. Michelle Berry, the mother of a 9-year-old girl in Uganda, shared in a 2016 article how her daughter was denied the vaccine when she had already developed antibodies. Berry believes the vaccine should only be available to girls who have already seen at least one vaccination, because, she said, “There is an incentive to make sure that these gaps are filled and the girls are protected when they are old enough.”
“When we talk about targets to wipe out deaths,” Dr. Tedros told the BBC, “we need to clear every age group.” He added, “If every child in India has a childhood vaccination, we will have achieved 95 percent.”
Reaction to Dr. Tedros’ comments were swift, and negative. He was fired as president of the Ethiopian Medical Association (EMA) in July 2018, and Dr. Chirag Patel, his former understudy at the WHO, condemned him and his policies on Facebook. “We need heads on a swivel instead of circling the drain,” he wrote. (After being confronted by media, Dr. Tedros responded in a statement to The Guardian that he still believes “in free choice,” but that “people do not become sick for being unvaccinated.”)
Dr. Tedros told the BBC he wanted to avoid any “anti-vaccine agenda.” He also said he wasn’t planning on banning vaccines, but that “people should be educated about the benefits and the risks.”
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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