WHO issues new statement on COVID-19 booster doses

Aug. 11, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it is reviewing the “emerging evidence” on the need for a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The WHO said its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization and its COVID-19 Vaccines Working Group are carrying out the work of collecting and analyzing data.

Last week, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, called for a moratorium on distributing booster does of COVID-19 vaccines until at least the end of September to enable at least 10% of the population of every country to be vaccinated.

In the new statement, the WHO noted the following:

·        Neither an immune correlate of protection nor an immune correlate for the duration of protection has been established to date.

·          Data are insufficient to determine if there is a significant decline in vaccine effectiveness against any form of clinical illness from SARS-CoV-2 infection beyond 6 months after vaccination.

“The decision to recommend a booster dose is complex and requires, beyond clinical and epidemiological data, a consideration of national strategic and programmatic aspects, and, importantly, an assessment of the prioritization of globally limited vaccine supply. In this context, prioritization should be given to the prevention of severe disease,” the WHO said.

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