WHO vaccine advisers recommend additional vaccine doses for people with weakened immune systems

WHO vaccine advisers recommend additional vaccine doses for people with weakened immune systems
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The World Health Organization's (WHO) vaccine advisory group on Monday recommended that immunocompromised individuals who have been fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine receive an additional dose.

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) made its recommendation following a four-day review of available information on vaccines for COVID-19 and other diseases, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

"SAGE recommended that moderately and severely immunocompromised persons should be offered an additional dose of all WHO EUL Covid-19 vaccines as part of an extended primary series," the group said, according to AFP.

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"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," the group added.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called for a moratorium on the widespread use of booster shots until at least next year, arguing against richer countries offering additional doses when low- and middle-income countries are still struggling to administer initial COVID-19 shots to their populations. 

"I will not stay silent when companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers," Tedros said in September.

AFP noted that SAGE stressed its recommendation was not an endorsement of booster shots for the general public and said it would review the issue of general booster shots on Nov. 11.

There are currently seven COVID-19 vaccines approved for use by WHO: Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Sinopharm and Sinovac. All of these vaccines, apart from Johnson & Johnson's, are administered in two doses.

--Updated on Oct. 12 at 5:47 a.m.