WHO: Second COVID booster for the weakest offers benefits

GENEVA ( Associated Press) – There may be some benefit from giving a second booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine to the most vulnerable amid the continued global spread of Omicron and its subtypes, an expert group convened by the World Health Organization says.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the UN health agency said there was “a growing body of evidence regarding the value of additional booster doses” for healthcare workers, people over the age of 60 and groups with weakened immune systems. .

The WHO said its expert group had assessed limited data from seven studies for second booster doses of messenger RNA vaccines, saying there was not enough information to prove their effectiveness in young, healthy people.

“An additional booster dose of the mRNA vaccine may be of additional benefit to those most at risk of serious illness or death,” the WHO said, acknowledging that there may be logistical or other challenges to offering a second booster dose to those most at risk of serious illness or death. Huh. Country. While many wealthy countries have vaccinated more than 70% of their population, less than 16% of people in poor countries have been vaccinated.

Last year, the WHO repeatedly criticized wealthy countries for offering booster doses and called for a halt to the practice, saying boosters were unnecessary for healthy people. After dozens of countries began offering booster doses, the agency reversed its advice late last year amid the spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant.

Some health experts have warned that countries launching additional booster campaigns before a single shot is offered to the most vulnerable in developing countries could exhaust the world’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

The US Food and Drug Administration recommended in March that Americans 50 and over be eligible for a second COVID-19 booster shot, while the European Medicines Agency only approved a second booster dose for those 80 and over.

Amid the continued spread of Omicron and its subtypes, the WHO and others continue to call for accelerated vaccination campaigns.

“What we are seeing is that people who are vaccinated have a very low risk of developing serious illness and death,” said WHO’s COVID-19 lead Maria Van Kerkhove, against the false belief Be warned that Omicron is lightweight. “We have a solution because we have vaccines,” she said.

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