No need for COVID booster jabs for now – WHO

August 18, 2021

GENEVA (Reuters) -Current data does not indicate that COVID-19 booster shots are needed, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, adding that the most vulnerable people worldwide should be fully vaccinated before high-income countries deploy a top-up.

The comments came just before the U.S. government said it planned to make the booster shots widely available to all Americans starting on Sept. 20 as infections from the Delta variant of the coronavirus rise.

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, asked about the need for boosters to increase protection against the disease, told a Geneva news conference: “We believe clearly that the data today does not indicate that boosters are needed.”

Further research was needed, she added.

WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward, referring to booster shots being administered in high-income countries, told reporters: “There is enough vaccine around the world, but it is not going to the right places in the right order.”

Two doses should be given to the most vulnerable worldwide before boosters are administered to those fully-vaccinated, he said, adding: “We are a long, long way from that.”

(Reporting by Michael Shields, Stephanie Nebehay and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Alison Williams)

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