Health

WHO recommends COVID-19 booster for people with weak immune system

An advisory group to the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended an additional shot of approved COVID-19 vaccines for people with weak immune systems.

The recommendation followed a four-day meeting of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunisation and a final report that will be issued in December.

SAGE said moderately and severely immunocompromised persons should be offered an additional dose of all WHO-approved vaccines “since these individuals are less likely to respond adequately to vaccination following a standard primary vaccine series and are at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease.”

People aged 60 and older, who received the Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, should get a third dose, too, the experts added, though the use of other vaccines may also be considered, depending on supply and access.

“When implementing this recommendation, countries should initially aim at maximising two-dose coverage in that population, and thereafter administer the third dose, starting in the oldest age groups,” said the group.

In the meantime, SAGE has also reviewed a vaccine developed by Indian company Bharat Biotech and will issue a policy recommendation after WHO greenlights it for emergency use.

WHO last week announced a plan to end the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring all people, everywhere, have access to vaccines.

The global COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy calls for inoculating 40 per cent of people in all countries by the end of the year and 70 per cent by the middle of 2022.

The strategy takes a three-step approach to vaccination. Priority is given to older people, health workers, and high-risk groups of all ages, followed by adults and then adolescents.

(NAN)

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