WHO: 2nd COVID booster for most vulnerable offers benefits
An skilled group convened by the World Health Organization says there could also be some profit to giving a second booster dose of coronavirus vaccine to the most vulnerable individuals amid the persevering with international unfold of omicron and its subvariants
In an announcement issued on Tuesday, the United Nations well being company mentioned there was “a growing body of evidence regarding the value of an additional booster dose” for teams together with well being staff, individuals aged over 60 and people with weak immune programs.
The WHO mentioned its skilled group had assessed the restricted knowledge from seven research for second booster doses of messenger RNA vaccines, saying there wasn’t sufficient info proving their effectiveness in youthful, wholesome individuals.
“In those most at risk for severe disease or death … the additional benefit of an additional booster dose of mRNA vaccine might be warranted,” the WHO mentioned, acknowledging that there might be logistical or different challenges to providing individuals a second booster dose in some nations. While many wealthy nations have vaccinated greater than 70% of their populations, fewer than 16% of individuals in poorer nations have been immunized.
Last year, the WHO repeatedly criticized wealthy nations for providing booster doses and known as for a moratorium on the apply, saying boosters had been pointless for wholesome individuals. The company reversed its recommendation late final year amid the unfold of the massively infectious omicron variant, after dozens of nations started providing booster doses.
Some well being specialists have warned that nations embarking on extra booster campaigns might deplete the world’s provide of COVID-19 vaccines earlier than the most vulnerable individuals in creating nations have been supplied a single shot.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration really useful in March that Americans 50 and over be eligible for a second COVID-19 booster shot whereas the European Medicines Agency has solely cleared second booster doses for these 80 and over.
Amid the persevering with unfold of omicron and its subvariants, the WHO and others have continued to name for accelerated vaccination campaigns.
“What we are seeing is that people who are vaccinated have a much reduced risk of developing severe disease and death,” mentioned WHO’s COVID-19 lead Maria Van Kerkhove, warning towards the false notion that omicron is delicate. “We have options for this as a result of we’ve got vaccines,” she mentioned.
Follow AP’s protection of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic