No need for COVID booster jabs for now - Soumya Swaminathan

by Reuters in August 19th, 2021
FILE PHOTO: A man who had previously been inoculated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with Sinovac's Coronavac vaccine, gets a third dose of a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, in the Hospital de Clinicas, in Montevideo, Uruguay August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Mariana Greifwami

FILE PHOTO: World Health Organization (WHO) Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan attends a press conference organised by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva Switzerland July 3, 2020. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via REUTERS

GENEVA (Reuters) -Current data does not indicate that COVID-19 booster shots are needed, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, adding that the most vulnerable people worldwide should be fully vaccinated before high-income countries deploy a top-up.

The comments came just before the U.S. government said it planned to make the booster shots widely available to all Americans starting on Sept. 20 as infections from the Delta variant of the coronavirus rise.

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, asked about the need for boosters to increase protection against the disease, told a Geneva news conference: "We believe clearly that the data today does not indicate that boosters are needed."

Further research was needed, she added.

WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward, referring to booster shots being administered in high-income countries, told reporters: "There is enough vaccine around the world, but it is not going to the right places in the right order."

Two doses should be given to the most vulnerable worldwide before boosters are administered to those fully-vaccinated, he said, adding: "We are a long, long way from that."

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