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COVID-19 WATCH

WHO: No booster shots even for medical frontliners

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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday maintained its stance against the administration of booster shots even for healthcare workers, who are in the frontline against Covid-19.

“We don’t see a need at this point of time for universal booster doses for all healthcare workers,” WHO country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said in the #LagingHanda briefing.

Abeyasinghe cited “huge vaccine inequity issue globally” as the reason why the WHO called for the extension of moratorium on booster shots through the end of the year.

He also added that some of the most vulnerable people in the world have not been able to access even a single dose.

“It is more important to address the global inequality when it comes to vaccines,” he said.

Last week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged world leaders to hold off on booster shots to enable every country to vaccinate at least 40 percent of its population until the end of the year.

The official also said that there is no evidence to push for the universal administration of booster shots or third dose for people who are already inoculated with two doses of vaccines.

“We don’t have the evidence that people who have already received two doses of WHO EUA (emergency use authority) granted vaccines require a third dose,” he said.

He added that all of WHO emergency use listed Covid-19 vaccines are still effective in preventing severe disease and death.

Abeyasinghe also said that the WHO is already working closely with research institutions and partner organizations to get better evidence on the need for booster shots.

However, he said, there is an exception for immunocompromised individuals who may be required to get another dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

“The only exception to this is when those two doses have not been able to generate the required immunity because certain people have immunocompromised situations in their bodies and those people may require a third dose,” he added.

Immunocompromised individuals may be senior citizens or individuals who may have immune problems, according to the official.

The statement came a day after the Palace announced that the country’s vaccine experts had already approved the recommendation for booster shots for healthcare workers.

However, the Department of Health clarified that there is no final recommendation yet for booster shots as it is still deliberating the issue with the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group and All Expert Group.

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