COVID-19 boosters not needed yet as vaccine supply remains uneven, WHO says

COVID-19 boosters not needed yet as vaccine supply remains uneven, WHO says

Vaccine makers, Pfizer and Moderna, are now aiming to provide COVID-19 boosters. But, health organizations and agencies are seemingly discouraging it for now.

The buzz around COVID-19 boosters continues to develop these past few months. While experts have stated that they are “likely” necessary, no one knows yet when the administering of the shots should start.

Despite the need for more studies about the matter, some vaccine makers have already revealed their plans of making boosters available soon. These are Moderna and Pfizer, alongside its partner, BioNTech.

Following the increasing talks over the booster shots, the World Health Organization had concerns about them. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that countries should not order boosters while some nations are still facing vaccine-supply challenges, according to Reuters.

COVID-19 boosters are not necessary yet

On Monday, the health agency’s Director-General pointed out that other countries have yet to receive coronavirus vaccines. This is why COVID-19 boosters should not be a priority at the moment.

Dr. Tedros continued that some regions and countries are already “ordering” millions of booster doses. This is despite other nations not having enough supplies to vaccinate their “health workers and most vulnerable” individuals. “The global gap in COVID-19 vaccine supply is hugely uneven and inequitable,” he emphasized.

The health expert mentioned Pfizer and Moderna, as well, during the media briefing. He said that these companies are already “aiming” to provide COVID-19 boosters in nations with high vaccination rates.

The WHO Chief consequently urged the vaccine makers to “direct their doses to COVAX” instead of making booster shots available.

Vaccine efficacy has declined

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ singling out of the vaccine makers on Monday comes after Pfizer issued a statement on Thursday. The company said that it would soon seek FDA emergency use authorization for COVID-19 boosters in August, according to CNN.

The drugmaker noted that they are “picking up” their efforts to develop a booster dose that will provide protection against coronavirus variants. As explained, they are seeing “waning immunity” from the vaccines.

Speaking to the publication, Pfizer and BioNTech shared that “evidence was building,” showing vaccinated individuals’ immunity starts to wane after taking the jab. They also referenced the data from Israel’s Ministry of Health, noting that the efficacy of the vaccines “has declined six months post-vaccination, although efficacy in preventing serious illnesses remains high.”

Delta variant soon to become the dominant strain

The World Health Organization has continued to emphasize the need for more vaccines, especially in middle and low-income countries. This comes as the agency deems the Delta variant becoming the dominant strain soon across the globe.

The Director-General stressed that new cases and deaths were rising again due to the variant. It is “ripping around the world at a scorching pace,” with it now spreading across over 104 countries. Accordingly, vaccines are more necessary than booster doses today.

Meanwhile, WHO’s Chief Scientist added that they have yet to see evidence showing the need for COVID-19 boosters among vaccinated individuals. Soumya Swaminathan said that “it has to be based on the science and the data, not on individual companies declaring that their vaccines need to be administered as a booster dose.”

Featured Image courtesy of Reuters/YouTube

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