WHO Cuts Back on COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance

The World Health Organization acknowledged there are “comparatively low public health returns” for some groups receiving the COVID-19 booster.

  • The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) on Tuesday “revised the roadmap for prioritizing the use of COVID-19 vaccines,” according to the WHO website.
  • The updated advisory designates people into three categories based on their priority in receiving the COVID vaccine.
  • High-priority vaccination groups consist of older adults, healthcare workers, and those who have received organ transplants.
  • The advisory recommends an “additional booster of either 6 or 12 months after the last dose.”
  • The medium-priority vaccination group includes healthy adults, with SAGE recommending these individuals receive the primary vaccine and the first booster.
  • The WHO previously recommended more booster shots for the medium-priority group, but now “does not routinely recommend them, given the comparatively low public health returns,” the advisory notes.
  • Low-priority groups include healthy persons aged 6 months to 17 years.
  • “The public health impact of vaccinating healthy children and adolescents is comparatively much lower than the established benefits of traditional essential vaccines for children—such as the rotavirus, measles, and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines—and of COVID-19 vaccines for high and medium priority groups,” the WHO adds.
  • “Updated to reflect that much of the population is either vaccinated or previously infected with COVID-19, or both, the revised roadmap reemphasizes the importance of vaccinating those still at-risk of severe disease, mostly older adults and those with underlying conditions, including with additional boosters,” said SAGE Chair Dr. Hannah Nohynek.
  • “Countries should consider their specific context in deciding whether to continue vaccinating low risk groups, like healthy children and adolescents, while not compromising the routine vaccines that are so crucial for the health and well-being of this age group,” Dr. Nohynek continued.
  • In response to calls for multiple updated booster vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated on their website that they do not recommend more than one updated COVID-19 booster.
  • The CDC instead recommends only one updated booster vaccine for “everyone aged 5 and older” and for “children aged 6 months-four years who completed the Moderna primary series.”
  • On March 29, the CDC updated its recommendations to allow those over the age of 50 to be eligible for another COVID-19 booster.
  • “Today, CDC expanded eligibility for an additional booster dose for certain individuals who may be at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. “Boosters are safe, and people over the age of 50 can now get an additional booster 4 months after their prior dose to increase their protection further.”
  • American Faith reported that a recent booster did not perform well against the latest COVID variant.
  • While the vaccines initially “boosted neutralizing antibodies” against Omnicron variant XBB 1.5, antibody levels significantly decreased three months later.
  • “Following bivalent mRNA boosting, responses to XBB.1.5 increase but remain low and wane within 3 months back to pre-boost levels,” said the Director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Dr. Dan Barouch in an email to The Epoch Times.
  • “These data suggest that once a year boosters with the current mRNA vaccines may not provide adequate protection for an entire year for those at high risk of complications of COVID-19,” the email continued.