WHO says reserve COVID-19 boosters for immunocompromised

WHO says reserve COVID-19 boosters for immunocompromised

WHO head calls on Covid vaccine manufacturers to only send doses to countries with less than 40% people immunized and that boosters should only be for the immunocompromised

  • WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Covid vaccine manufacturers should only send doses to countries where few are inoculated
  • In Africa, only 6% of the continent’s population is currently vaccinated with just five countries expected to hit 40% by the end of the year
  • Tedros also said that Covid vaccine boosters should only be given to people who are immunocompromised
  • Several countries, including the U.S. and the UK, have been administering boosters to large swathes of their populations  

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) called on COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to only deliver doses to poor countries and not to nations that are administering boosters.

During a news briefing on Thursday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said vaccine makers should prioritize deliveries of COVID-19 jabs to countries with fewer 40 percent of people immunized.

He also said that boosters should not be administered except to people who are immunocompromised.  

‘We continue to call on manufacturers of vaccines that already have WHO Emergency Use Listing to prioritize COVAX, not shareholder profit,’ he said.

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WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing on Thursday (above) that Covid vaccine manufacturers should only send doses to countries where few are inoculated

Tedros also said that Covid vaccine boosters should only be given to people who are immuncompromromised. Pictured: A man receives a booster shot at the Haverford Township Municipal Building in Pennsylvania, October 25

‘We continue to call on all manufacturers to prioritize their contracts with COVAX and the Africa Vaccines Acquisition Trust, or AVAT,’ Tedros continued.

‘No more vaccines should go to countries that have already vaccinated more than 40 percent of their population, until COVAX has the vaccines it needs to help other countries get there too.’ 

There are several countries, particularly in Africa, that have fallen way behind in the global vaccine rollout. 

Only about six percent of the continent’s population is currently vaccinated, according to the WHO.

What’s more, just five African countries are expected to hit the goal of vaccinating 40 percent of their populations. 

Because of this, Tedros once against called for a moratorium on boosters aside for those with weakened immune systems.

‘No more boosters should be administered, except to immunocompromised people,’ Tedros said.

‘Most countries with high vaccine coverage continue to ignore our call for a global moratorium on boosters, at the expense of health workers and vulnerable groups in low-income countries who are still waiting for the first doses.’ 

Previously, health experts had said that there was no evidence  to suggest that fully vaccinated Americans needed booster shots.

However, more and more research has shown that people with weakened immune systems have low or undetectable antibody levels, even after two doses.

Several countries, including the U.S. and the UK, have been administering boosters to large swathes of their populations. In the U.S., 20.6 million people have received a booster dose with a seven-day rolling average of 586,309 (above)

A study in May found that all cancer patients developed fewer antibodies after being vaccinated compared to healthy participants and 10 percent barely developed antibodies at all.

Another study in June looked at 30 organ transplant recipients and found that 24 developed negative antibody levels – meaning they did not have any immune-fighting cells – after two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

The findings are worrying because immunocompromised people are already at an increased risk of hospitalization or death from the virus.

This makes COVID-19 immunity even more crucial for this population. 

However, third doses may be a way to boost antibody levels. 

For example, the study about organ transplant patients found that one-third of patients with negative antibody levels from the first two doses now showed an increase after a third dose.

Several nations including the U.S., the UK, France, Germany and Israel already have already rolled out boosters – and for far more people than just those with weakened immune systems.

In the U.S., 20.6 million people have received a booster dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with a seven-day rolling average of 586,309.

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