COVID-19: WHO experts recommend extra COVID jab for people with weak immune systems

WHO's experts have also recommended that over-60s fully immunized with China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines must be offered an additional third dose of COVID-19 Vaccine.

Created On: Oct 12, 2021 13:00 IST
WHO recommends booster dose
WHO recommends booster dose

The vaccine advisers of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on October 11, 2021, recommended that all individuals with weakened immune systems should be offered an additional dose of all WHO-approved Coronavirus vaccines.

The global health agency’s experts also said that over-60s fully immunized with China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines must be offered an additional third dose of COVID-19 Vaccine.

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) held a four-day meeting last week to review the latest information and data on a range of vaccines for COVID-19 as well as other diseases.

Why booster dose is recommended for those with a weak immune system?

SAGE has recommended that the moderately and severely immunocompromised people should be offered an additional jab of WHO EUL COVID vaccines as part of an extended primary series.

As per the expert group, these individuals are less likely to respond adequately to vaccination after a standard primary vaccine series and are also at a higher risk of severe COVID infections.

The booster dose will help in bringing their level of protection up to that demonstrated to prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death in clinical trials- from which the people with immunocompromised conditions were excluded.

Additional booster dose for people with weak immune systems: Key details

•   The WHO’s Vaccines Chief, Kate O’Brien said that the extra dose must be considered for those with weaker immune systems. The booster dose must be administered after a wait of one to three months.

•   SAGE recommends that people aged 60 and above immunized with Sinopharm and Sinovac must be offered an additional shot. It adds that a different vaccine may also be considered based on the vaccine supply and access considerations.

•   SAGE added that the countries must initially aim at maximizing the two-dose coverage of the vaccine in that population, and thereafter administer the third dose, starting with the oldest group.

What SAGE says on booster dose for general population?

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) also stressed that it has not been recommending an additional booster dose for the population at large, which is already being rolled out in some of the nations around the world.

The World Health Organisation wants a moratorium on COVID-19 booster doses for the general population until the end of 2021 in order to prioritize the first doses in dozens of countries starved of vaccines.

The experts said that the group will review the issue of the general booster dose on November 11, 2021.

WHO has given approval for the emergency use of several COVID-19 Vaccines during the pandemic: Janssen, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinopharm, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac.

The global health body is also on the verge of deciding whether to give the Emergency Use Listing (EUL) to India’s Bharat Biotech vaccine.

Sinopharm and Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccines

China’s Sinopharm jab has been used in 69 nations, while Sinovac has been rolled out in 26 countries.

Besides China, Egypt, Algeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and the Philippines are among the nations that have been using both vaccines.

Sinopharm is also used in Hungary, Bangladesh, Kenya, Iran, Peru, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, and Sri Lanka. While Sinovac is used by Chile, Brazil, Indonesia, Colombia, Mexico, Malaysia, Ukraine, Turkey, and Singapore.

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