GENEVA (AP) — An professional group convened by the World Well being Group says there could also be some profit in giving a second booster dose of coronavirus vaccine to essentially the most susceptible individuals amid the persevering with international unfold of omicron and its subvariants.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, the United Nations well being company mentioned there was “a rising physique of proof concerning the worth of a further booster dose” for teams together with well being staff, individuals aged over 60 and people with weak immune programs.
The WHO mentioned its professional group had assessed the restricted information 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 these most in danger for extreme illness or loss of life … the extra good thing about a further booster dose of mRNA vaccine could be warranted,” the WHO mentioned, acknowledging that there could possibly be logistical or different challenges to providing individuals a second booster dose in some nations. Whereas many wealthy nations have vaccinated greater than 70% of their populations, fewer than 16% of individuals in poorer nations have been immunized.
Final yr, the WHO repeatedly criticized wealthy nations for providing booster doses and referred to as for a moratorium on the observe, saying boosters have been pointless for wholesome individuals. The company reversed its advice late final yr amid the unfold of the vastly infectious omicron variant, after dozens of nations started providing booster doses.
Some well being specialists have warned that nations embarking on extra booster campaigns may deplete the world’s provide of COVID-19 vaccines earlier than essentially the most susceptible individuals in growing nations have been supplied a single shot.
The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration really helpful in March that Individuals 50 and over be eligible for a second COVID-19 booster shot whereas the European Medicines Company 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’re seeing is that people who find themselves vaccinated have a a lot decreased danger of growing extreme illness and loss of life,” mentioned WHO’s COVID-19 lead Maria Van Kerkhove, warning in opposition to the false notion that omicron is delicate. “We’ve options for this as a result of now we have vaccines,“ she mentioned.
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