WHO revises COVID-19 vaccine outlook

Vaccines are here to stay/Shutterstock Images

A new phase of the pandemic has led to the World Health Organization´s revision of its COVID-19 vaccination recommendations; WHO now suggests that healthy children and adolescents may not necessarily need a jab, but older, high-risk groups should get a booster between 6 to 12 months after their last vaccination.

The WHO defined high-risk populations as older adults, as well as younger people with other significant risk factors. For this group, the agency recommends an additional shot of the vaccine either 6 or 12 months after the latest dose, based on the age factor and any immunocompromising conditions, according to Reuters.

“The revised roadmap re-emphasises the importance of vaccinating those still at-risk of severe disease,” said Hanna Nohynek, chair of the WHO’s Strategic Group of Experts on Immunisation, which made the recommendations.

The U.N. agency said the goal was to vaccinate those facing the greatest threat of severe disease and death from COVID-19, considering the high-level global population immunity due to widespread infection and vaccination.

The recommendations come as countries take differing approaches. Some wealthy countries like the United Kingdom and Canada are already offering those at high-risk COVID-19 boosters this spring—six months after their last dose

The WHO said in September 2022 that the end of the pandemic was “in sight”. In a briefing on Tuesday, March 28 the agency said its latest advice reflected the current viral disease status and global immunity levels, but should not be viewed as long-term guidance over whether annual boosters would be required.

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