Warning has been issued by WHO experts for repeating the booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine and treating it like a normal flu. An expert group created by the World Health Organization to assess the performance of COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday said simply providing fresh jabs of existing vaccines as new strains of the virus emerge was not the best way to fight the pandemic.
The WHO Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-Co-VAC) said in a statement, “A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable.” “At this rate, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecasts that more than 50 per cent of the population in the region will be infected with Omicron in the next 6-8 weeks,” Dr Kluge said, referring to a research centre at the University of Washington in the US.
The WHO warned that it is too early to treat covid as a regular flu. It shouldn’t be treated as endemic right now. “We still have a virus that’s evolving quite quickly and posing quite new challenges. So we’re certainly not at the point of being able to call it endemic,” WHO senior emergencies officer Catherine Smallwood told the briefing.
“This virus, as we know, has surprised us more than once… The prime aspirational goal for 2022 is to stabilise the pandemic,” Mr Kluge said. “COVID-19 vaccines that have high impact on prevention of infection and transmission, in addition to the prevention of severe disease and death, are needed and should be developed,” TAG-Co-VAC said.
“The composition of current Covid vaccines may need to be updated to ensure that they continue to provide WHO-recommended levels of protection,” the technical body, tasked with making recommendations to the WHO, said. “Vaccines need to…elicit immune responses that are broad, strong, and long-lasting in order to reduce the need for successive booster doses,” it added. “A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable.”