Not Enough Data on Need For COVID-19 Booster Doses, Says WHO

WHO calls the COVID-19 booster dose conundrum a moral issue.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>WHO still not convinced on need for COVID-19 booster doses</p></div>

The WHO (World Health Organisation) on Wednesday reiterated that there isn't enough scientific evidence pointing to any benefits of a third COVID-19 vaccine dose in regular people.

Speaking at a press briefing, Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO called the data 'inconclusive' and said the booster doses posed a 'moral issue', reported Reuters.

"When some countries afford to have the booster and others are not even vaccinating the first and second round, it's a moral issue."
Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO, quoted by Reuters

Earlier this month, WHO had announced that they would be reviewing emergency evidence to decide upon whether booster doses of the approved vaccines were a neccesity.

With the Delta variant refusing to slow down and cases of COVID still soaring in many countries, health authorities have been toying with the idea of booster doses to strengthen immune response and protect against infection.

While countries like the US and Israel started off with offering booster doses to immunocompromised and elderly people (those who are most vulnerable to serious illness and death from the infection), they have since extended it to the general population.

However, not all experts are on board.

Experts in India been vocal about the lack of data to support the use of booster doses, saying the benefits were marginal in reducing mild infection at best.

Speaking to FIT for previous story, Dr JP Muliyil said, "What they (the vaccine companies) promised was the vaccine will prevent serious infection and that they're doing that. Booster doses are being taken to prevent infection, and in my opinion that won't work."

There is also the ethical consideration of allowing some countries to offer booster doses to their citizens while others struggle to cover the second and even first doses.

"All of this conversation effectively suggests that rich people's transmission problems are more serious than poor people's survival problems, both internationally and within India, and I think it is all quite inappropriate at the moment."
Dr Satyajit Rath, Immunologist, to FIT

(Written with inputs from Reuters)

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