WHO recommends booster for people with health problems and inactive vaccine recipients


The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that people who are immunocompromised or received an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine should get their COVID-19 booster shots. 

The decision followed a Tuesday meeting of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), Reuters reported.

That meeting echoed past guidance that has included the idea that protection offered by vaccines is particularly strong for at least six months. However, that protection lessens over time, especially among older adults and people who have underlying health conditions.

“For the time being we continue to support the need for equity in distribution [of vaccines] and the use of a third dose only in those” who had health problems or got an inactivated vaccine, SAGE chair Alejandro Cravioto said, according to Reuters.

Inactivated vaccines, which use an inactivated or killed virus, are made by China’s Sinovac Biotech, China’s state-owned Sinopharm and India’s Bharat Biotech. Though these vaccines were approved for emergency use by the WHO, it has also been recommended that older people over age 60 who received the Sinopharm and Sinovac shots receive an additional shot, the news service added.

Some countries like Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand have been boosting recipients of the Chinese vaccines as there have been some concerns that they were not as effective against the virus’s new variants, Reuters also reported. 

The WHO’s latest recommendation on boosters comes as the organization previously said initial vaccines should be prioritized over boosters, given the low vaccination rates in developing countries.

But as concerns about the omicron variant heighten, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that “complacency now will cost lives” and encouraged countries to be vigilant as they combat COVID-19.

Tags COVID boosters World Health Organization

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