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Is There is a Moral Case Against "Booster" Shots When So Many Poor Nations Remain Unvaccinated?

Many rich nations are now distributing third shots to their citizens, even as the vast majority of the world's population waits to receive their first.

Dr. Monica Ghandi tells Rob Nelson that the U.S. and other G7 countries should have given more vaccines to the rest of the world before rolling out booster programs. 

“People are at risk are dying elsewhere: Healthcare workers, vulnerable people, older people,” she says. “A third dose here in the U.S. is basically preventing you from getting a mild infection. And that is hard to justify.”

Gandhi — who advocates for vaccine equity through the group Covid Collaborative — stressed that the self-interests of wealthy nations align with the moral course of action when it comes to broadening access to the most effective vaccines.

“We don’t win economically” by allowing poor nations to go without vaccines “and we also don’t win if there are more variants,” she said.

Dr. Gandhi is associate division chief of Infectious Disease and Global Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital and a professor of medicine at UC-San Francisco Medical School. Read more about her work with the COVID Collaborative here, and watch the full Roundtable interview below: