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Home » World » WHO Calls For New COVID-19 Vaccines To Combat Variants, Says Repeated Booster Shots Not ‘Viable Strategy’


WHO Calls For New COVID-19 Vaccines To Combat Variants, Says Repeated Booster Shots Not ‘Viable Strategy’

A woman wearing a face mask is seen outside a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, on April 6, 2021. (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua)

New Delhi: The World Health Organisation in a statement has issued a clarion call to vaccine developers and manufacturers all across the globe, underlining that booster shots of the original Covid-19 vaccine are “not a viable strategy against emerging variants”.

“A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable,” the WHO Technical Advisory Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-Co-VAC) said in a statement.

WHO added that new COVID-19 vaccine composition needs to be developed that will help in the prevention of Coronavirus disease and curb the spread of infection led by various variants.

“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,” the WHO’s Technical Advisory Group said in the statement.

The global health watchdog also added that the biggest threat continues to be the Omicron variant as overall risk related to Omicron remains very high for a number of reasons. “First, the global risk of COVID-19 remains very high overall. Second, current data indicate that Omicron has a significant growth advantage over Delta, leading to rapid spread in the community. The rapid increase in cases will lead to an increase in hospitalizations, may pose overwhelming demands on health care,” WHO added in its statement.

ALSO READ: Covid-19 India Update: No Symptoms Or Not At ‘High Risk’, Don’t Get Tested, Says ICMR

The global health body also urged the vaccine maker to collect more data as the preliminary data indicate the existing COVID-19 vaccine is less effective against the emerging variants of concern (VOC).

“For the Omicron variant, the mutational profile and preliminary data indicate that vaccine effectiveness will be reduced against symptomatic disease caused by the Omicron variant, but protection against severe disease is more likely to be preserved. However, more data on vaccine effectiveness, particularly against hospitalization, severe disease, and death are needed, including for each vaccine platform and for various vaccine dosing and product regimens,” it said.

WHO said that it “encourages vaccine developers to gather data on a small scale on the breadth and magnitude of immune response for monovalent and multivalent vaccines against VOCs – this data would then be considered in a broader decision-making framework on vaccine composition by the TAG-CO-VAC.”

The Omicron variant which was first detected in South Africa in November was classified as a VOC on November 26, 2021. Since then it has become the dominant variant and is responsible in the EU and many other nations for an unprecedented increase in infections.

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On Tuesday, American vaccine manufacturer and biotechnology company Pfizer said that a vaccine against the Omicron variant of Coronavirus will be ready in March and the company has already begun manufacturing the doses.

ALSO READ: Pfizer Claims Omicron Vaccine Will Be Ready By March

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