Booster doses of current Covid – 19 vaccines may not be enough: WHO

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Geneva: Current Covid-19 vaccines may need to be updated if they are to provide continued protection against emerging variants, including Omicron, said WHO. A group of 18 experts, WHO Technical Advisory Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-CO-VAC), on Tuesday said that although current vaccines provide a high level of protection against severe disease and death caused by Variants Of Concern (VOC), future vaccines that can prevent infection and transmission need to be developed.

Such updates need to be based on strains that are genetically and antigenically close to the circulating variants. They should also elicit broad, strong, and long lasting responses in order to reduce the need for successive booster doses, WHO added. Regarding the current Omicron variant, the experts emphasized the importance of wider global access to current Covid-19 vaccines.

Experts have encouraged Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers to provide data on the performance of current and Omicron-specific vaccines, to help decide when changes to vaccine composition may be required.

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