With new variants of the coronavirus emerging and despite countries trying to accelerate vaccination drives across the world, COVID-19 cases have continued to rise. This has led to debates over the beneficiaries who have been vaccinated needing a booster COVID-19 vaccine shot to protect populations from emerging mutations.
However, amid this debate on boosters shots, poorer countries have got left behind in the vaccine procurement race. Just last month, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had spoken out against countries procuring booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines for their citizens while their less fortunate counterparts had yet to vaccinate essential workers and vulnerable populations.
Globally, as experts reportedly watch closely to determine if and when people might need another shot, here's a list of countries that are planning on getting COVID-19 booster shots:
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates had announced in April that it will offer a third shot to recipients of the Chinese state-backed Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine six months after their initial two-dose regimen. The move appears to make the UAE the first country worldwide to formally introduce the booster.
Israel's prime minister last week announced that the country would offer a coronavirus booster to people over 60 who have already been vaccinated, reports The Associated Press.
The announcement by Naftali Bennett makes Israel, which launched one of the world's most successful vaccination drives earlier this year, the first country to offer a third dose of a Western vaccine to its citizens on a wide scale.
The decision comes at a time of rising infections and signs that the vaccine's efficacy dwindles over time.
Anyone over 60 who was vaccinated more than five months ago will be eligible. Bennett said the country's new president, Isaac Herzog, would be the first to get the booster. It will also be offered to the general public.
Britain will offer COVID-19 booster vaccines to 32 million Britons starting early next month with up to 2,000 pharmacies set to deliver the programme, The Telegraph reported on Sunday.
The campaign could start as soon as Sept 6, which would see the rollout completed by early December if it goes to plan, the report added.
The government also said 46,851,145 people had received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 38,345,841 had received two doses.
Germany plans to start offering COVID-19 booster shots to the elderly and at-risk from 1 September, according to a draft document seen by AFP on Sunday, as concerns grow about the spread of the Delta variant.
The plan also recommends promoting vaccination for those aged 12-17, which would go further than earlier guidance issued by the country's vaccine regulator.
Mobile vaccination teams will be sent into care and nursing homes to offer Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna booster shots to residents, regardless of which vaccine they had originally, says the document.
Cambodia has now begun offering booster shots for the Covid-19 vaccine and will switch between the UK-made AstraZeneca and China's Sinovac and Sinopharm.
"Prime Minister Hun Sen, launching the vaccination campaign for 12-17 years old, said on Sunday that the third dose will be offered to between 500,000 to one million frontline workers as a priority," a Reuters report said.
Those who received Sinopharm or Sinovac as their first two doses will be given the AstraZeneca shot, while those who have received two shots of the Oxford-made vaccine will get Sinovac as the booster shot.
Cambodia is also looking at procuring the US's Johnson & Johnson shot to inoculate its indigenous population in the northeast region.
Thailand has changed its vaccine policy to mix China's Sinovac with the AstraZeneca vaccine in a bid to boost protection.
In search of solutions to stem the tide, the country's health officials have decided to mix a first dose of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine with a second dose of the same Oxford-AstraZeneca shot that is known in India as Covishield to try and achieve a "booster" effect in six weeks instead of 12.
The plan to combine the Sinovac shot, which is an inactivated virus vaccine, with AstraZeneca, a viral vector vaccine, comes as health officials are looking to cut the duration between doses. "We can't wait 12 weeks (for a booster effect) in this outbreak where the disease is spreading fast," said the country's chief virologist, Yong Poovorawan.
Since April, health care providers in France have routinely given a third dose of a two-dose vaccine to people with certain immune conditions, reported The New York Times.
Russian health authorities in July has launched booster coronavirus vaccinations for people immunized more than six months ago, as the country faces a surge in new infections and deaths.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said he had received a booster shot and urged city residents to follow suit.
Moscow health authorities soon started offering booster shots with the domestically produced, two-shot Sputnik V vaccine and its one-shot Sputnik Light version. Other Russian regions are also starting to offer booster shots.
As per Reuters, Switzerland has ordered 43 million doses of vaccines, including preparations for potential booster shots in 2022, should they be needed, the Federal Health Ministry has said.
The country's infection rate is considered very low but has been rising as authorities relax restrictions.
Singapore last month had announced that booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine may begin around Chinese New Year next year, which is around February, is required.
Indonesia has started injecting the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers across the country.
The country's Health Ministry started the vaccination program using the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine this month, targeting 1.47 million health workers across the country, the Xinhua news agency reported. Indonesia gave its emergency use approval to the Moderna vaccine last month.
With inputs from agencies