The World Health Organization has recommended that people with weaker immune systems should receive an additional shot of approved COVID-19 vaccines.
This follows a four-day meeting of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization where the group agreed that moderately and severely immunocompromised persons should be offered an additional dose of all WHO-approved vaccines “since these individuals are less likely to respond adequately to vaccination following a standard primary vaccine series and are at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease.”
This also targets people aged 60 and older who received the Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines to get a third dose too, though the use of other vaccines may also be considered depending on supply and access.
The group further said that when implementing this recommendation, countries should initially aim at maximizing 2-dose coverage in that population, and thereafter administer the third dose, starting in the oldest age group.
SAGE has also reviewed a vaccine developed by Indian company Bharat Biotech and will issue a policy recommendation after WHO greenlights it for emergency use.
Last week, WHO announced a plan to end the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring all people, everywhere, have access to vaccines. The Global COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy calls for inoculating 40 per cent of people in all countries by the end of the year, and 70 per cent by the middle of 2022.