Wednesday, June 7, 2023

WHO revises Covid-19 vaccine recommendations

The World Health Organization revised its Covid-19 vaccine recommendations to reflect the new phase of the pandemic and the high population-level immunity due to infection and vaccination. It said healthy children and adolescents may not necessarily need a shot but older, high-risk groups should get a booster between 6 to 12 months after their last vaccine.
The new recommendations prioritise protecting those who are at the greatest risk of death and severe disease from Covid-19. For the new recommendations, the WHO divided the priority-use groups for Covid-19 vaccination into three levels – high, medium and low.
The high priority group includes older adults as well as younger people with significant comorbidities and immunocompromising conditions. For this group, the WHO recommended an additional booster shot either 6 or 12 months after the last dose, with the timeframe depending on factors such as age and immunocompromising conditions.
The medium priority group includes healthy adults without comorbidities and children and adolescents with comorbidities. WHO recommended primary series and first booster doses for the medium priority group. Additional booster shots are safe for this group but not necessarily recommended, given the comparatively low public health returns.
Healthy children and adolescents aged 6 months to 17 years belong in the low priority group. For this group, the WHO urged countries to consider factors like disease burden before recommending vaccination. It said the Covid-19 vaccines and boosters were safe for all ages, but the recommendations took into account other factors like cost-effectiveness.
In September 2022, the WHO said the end of the pandemic was “in sight”. The global health agency said its latest recommendations reflect the global immunity levels and current disease picture but should not be seen as long-term guidance over whether annual boosters would be needed.
The WHO’s recommendations come amid Covid cases rising in India. On Tuesday, India recorded 3,146 new cases. So far, over 200 crore vaccines have been administered in India, as per data by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.


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