No Evidence That Healthy Kids and Adolescents Need COVID Booster Shots, Says WHO
There is no evidence that healthy children and adolescents need COVID booster shots. This is according to the World Health Organization’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan.
RELATED: FDA Approves Booster Shots From Moderna, Johnson & Johnson
No Evidence That Kids, Young Adults Need COVID Booster Shots
Speaking at a news briefing last Tuesday, Swaminathan said that at the least, more research is necessary to determine who needs COVID booster shots.
At present, there is no evidence that shows that healthy children and adolescents need COVID booster shots to increase their protection. “There is no evidence right now that healthy children or heavy adolescents need boosters. No evidence at all,” she said.
Swaminathan did acknowledge that immunity from COVID vaccines can wane over time, especially when against Omicron. However, she suggested that countries conduct more research to get a better understanding.
Many Countries Approving COVID Booster Shots for Kids
Currently, Israel offers COVID booster shots to children as young as 12 years old. Last month, the United States, through the Food and Drug Administration, authorized COVID booster shots for kids between 12 to 15.
Specifically, the FDA authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for use as a booster third shot. The FDA also approved boosters from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
Other countries are also following the COVID booster shots for kids trend. Last week, Germany and Hungary began authorizing booster shots for children between 12 and 17 years.
WHO Advisory Group To Meet And Discuss COVID Booster Shots
Swaminathan said that the WHO’s advisory group, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), will meet this week. SAGE will consider the specific question of how countries should consider giving COVID booster shots to their populations.
“The aim is to protect the most vulnerable, to protect those at highest risk of severe disease and dying. Those are our elderly populations, immuno-compromised people with underlying conditions, but also healthcare workers,” she said.
‘We Don’t Have the Answer Yet’
Meanwhile, Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said it’s too early to tell. The agency has yet to figure out how often or how many doses people will ultimately need.
He said that many people fear that the booster thing will require a shot every two or three months. “I don’t think we have the answer to that yet,” Ryan said.
However, Ryan noted that scientists may eventually redefine how many doses are required in the primary series of Covid shots. Most healthy people will likely need just two. However, the elderly or the immunocompromised might need three or four.
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