WHO for booster shots to immunocompromised

 Pakistan Pakistan

Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), on Monday, recommended the booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines and said they should be offered to severely and moderately immunocompromised people.

“An additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine should be given to severely immunocompromised people due to them having an additional risk of breakthrough infections after standard immunisation.”

Since the end of September, there have been several COVID-19 vaccines that have been certified by WHO UEL, including Janssen, Moderna, Sinopharm, Sinovac, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Covishield.

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) said that it had also reviewed COVAXIN – which is made by India’s Bharat Biotech – and will issue a policy recommendation once the vaccine earns WHO UEL’s nod.

WHO experts said third doses of the Sinopharm and Sinovac inactivated virus vaccines should be given to those over 60. Meanwhile, the use of a live virus (heterologous) vaccine for the additional dose could also be considered on the basis of vaccine supply and access considerations.

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“We know the addition of a third dose or a two-plus-one schedule gives a strong (immune) response. So we expect much better protection from there,” SAGE said.

“When going forth with this recommendation, countries should aim at fulfilling two-dose coverage in that population first, and thereafter administer the third dose, but beginning with the oldest age groups.”

The WHO had called for a global moratorium earlier on COVID-19 booster doses, directing for a more equal distribution of vaccines to enable every nation to jab at least 40 per cent of its population. The target is to vaccinate 70 per cent of global population by mid-2022. This drive would prioritize vaccines to low-income countries, specifically those in Africa.

An estimated 1.5 billion vaccines are available each month globally, enough to reach the target of vaccinating 40% of each nation’s population by this year, but distribution is very unequal.

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