Who Says ‘Repeated’ Booster Doses Not Viable Strategy Against New Variants
By Dominica Funnell | Digital Reporter
The World Health Organisation says administering repeated doses of existing COVID vaccines are “unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable” as new variants emerge, and calls for new jabs that better protect against the emerging varieties.
The World Health Organisation has advised countries to hold off rolling out a COVID-19 booster program, warning it is unlikely to be “appropriate or sustainable” as the virus continues to develop.
The global health body also highlighted the need for vaccine equity across the world as demand for the initial two jabs remained high.
“The immediate priority for the world is accelerating access to primary vaccination, particularly for groups at greater risk of developing severe disease,” the WHO said in its interim statement.
It also noted existing vaccines were likely to be less effective against Omicron.
“For the Omicron variant, the mutational profile and preliminary data indicate that vaccine effectiveness will be reduced against symptomatic disease caused by the Omicron variant, but protection against severe disease is more likely to be preserved,” the statement said.
“However, more data on vaccine effectiveness, particularly against hospitalisation, severe disease, and death are needed, including for each vaccine platform and for various vaccine dosing and product regimens.”
A WHO technical body advised the current COVID-19 vaccines may need to be altered to combat the virus as it develops to provide proper protection against serious disease and death.
A WHO advisory body has warned repeated booster shots may not be a practical defence against the Omicron variant.
“The current composition of current COVID-19 vaccines may need to be updated, to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide WHO-recommended levels of protection against infection and disease by VOCs, including Omicron and future variants,” the Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-CO-VAC) recommended.
The WHO interim statement further said TAG-CO-VAC supports and encourages broad access to vaccines to priority populations to assist “in the longer term, to mitigate the emergence and impact of new VOCs by reducing the burden of infection”.
With the global demand for vaccine equity and the “evolution of the virus, a vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable”.