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WHO recommends COVID boosters, reversing previous recommendations

by Vaishali Sharma

A World Health Organization advisory council stated on Tuesday that it “strongly advocates prompt and broad access” to COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, particularly for persons who are at high risk of severe illness.

The suggestion contradicts past WHO comments that emphasised global vaccination equality for initial doses above booster distribution in developed nations. According to The Associated Press, the WHO backtracked on its earlier pronouncements on Tuesday, stating boosters were only suggested after nations had adequate supplies to safeguard their most vulnerable populations.

As the infectious Omicron form continues to spread over the world, the WHO panel found that COVID-19 vaccinations give high levels of protection against severe sickness and mortality. Although the variation has reduced in certain nations, it has increased in others.

Several nations in the WHO’s Western Pacific area, including the United States, are seeing significant cases and deaths.

“While worldwide cases are dropping, testing resources and capacity are being curtailed in some locations,” the WHO warned. “The epidemiological picture continues mixed, with some regions and nations reporting weekly case increases and others reporting reductions.”

The WHO Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition, which is made up of 18 specialists who focus on the effectiveness of vaccinations and variations of concern, such as the Delta and Omicron variants, revised its recommendations.

The WHO said it is continuing to monitor the global spread of Omicron, as well as the subvariant BA.2, which has re-infected some persons who previously had Omicron and has become the main Omicron lineage in certain countries.

Vaccines against Omicron and BA.2 appear to be effective, according to the WHO. Booster dosages have been shown in several investigations to restore declining immunity and protect against severe COVID-19 infections. According to the Associated Press, booster programmes in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada have prevented Omicron infections from resulting to hospitalizations and fatalities.

New variations are expected to arise, according to the WHO, and new vaccinations will be required because the present approved vaccines are based on the original coronavirus strain that spread at the start of the epidemic.

“Since then, there has been continual and considerable viral evolution, and this evolution is expected to continue, leading in the creation of new varieties,” according to the WHO. “As a result, the present COVID-19 vaccine composition may need to be modified.”

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