Increasing doses for the general population ‘are not appropriate at this stage in pandemic’, say international scientists.
Additional COVID-19 vaccine boosters are not needed for the general population, a group of international scientists said in a new report in a medical journal.
The report, published Monday in The Lancet, concluded that even with the threat of the more contagious Delta variant, “reinforcement doses for the general population are not appropriate at this stage of the pandemic.”
“All decisions on the need to boost or the timing of reinforcement should be based on careful analyzes of adequately controlled clinical or epidemiological data, or both, indicating a sustained and significant decline in serious diseases,” the scientists wrote.
The scientists said more evidence is needed to justify boosters, and that vaccines remain effective against severe symptoms of COVID-19, in all major virus variants, including Delta.
“As a whole, the currently available studies do not provide credible evidence of a significantly declining protection against serious diseases, which is the main purpose of vaccination,” said WHO lead author Ana-Maria Henao-Restrepo.
She said vaccine doses should be prioritized to people around the world who are still waiting a bit.
“If vaccines are deployed where it would do best, it could accelerate the end of the pandemic by hindering further evolution of variants,” she added.
This view is at odds with the US government’s plans to start offering another round of shots to many fully vaccinated Americans as early as next week, subject to approval by health regulators.
The authors acknowledge that some individuals, such as those with an immune system, benefit from an extra dose.
A panel of experts advising the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on vaccines plans to meet on Sept. 17 to discuss additional doses of Pfizer-BioNTech shot, the first step in a larger expansion.
The authors of the Lancet article were the top WHO scientists, Soumya Swaminathan, Ana-Maria Henao-Restrepo and Mike Ryan.
Some countries have started offering extra doses due to fears of the much more contagious Delta variant, prompting the WHO to call for a third-party moratorium on concerns about vaccine supplies to poorer countries, where millions have yet to stitch should not receive.
“Current vaccine supplies could save more lives if used in previously unvaccinated populations,” the authors wrote.
Countries like France began distributing third shots to the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, while Israel went further and offered children 12 years and older a third dose five months after receiving a second shot.
The head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called on countries not to give more COVID pieces by the end of the year, as the UN Health Agency calls on all countries to release at least 10 per cent of their population by the end of this month. vaccinate, and at least By the end of this year 40 percent.
The Lancet article concluded that the current variants were not sufficiently developed to escape the immune response of vaccines currently in use.
The authors argued that if new virus mutations arose that could evade this response, it would be better to deliver specially adapted vaccine enhancers aimed at the newer variant, rather than a third dose of an existing vaccine.