Repeated Covid boosters not a sustainable strategy, says WHO
Experts are calling for a new vaccine with a focus on preventing transmission in the first place.
World Health Organisation experts have warned that a system of repeated booster doses of the original Covid vaccines is not a viable strategy going forward.
Instead, they are calling for new vaccines that better protect against transmission.
On Tuesday, the WHO Advisory Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Composition said in a statement:
“A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable.
"Covid-19 vaccines that have high impact on prevention of infection and transmission, in addition to the prevention of severe disease and death, are needed and should be developed."
It said these new jabs would help lower community transmission and the need for strict public health and social measures.
It also suggested that developers should aim to create vaccines that “elicit immune responses that are broad, strong, and long-lasting in order to reduce the need for successive booster doses”.
Until new vaccines have been developed the "composition of current Covid-19 vaccines may need to be updated" in order to ensure they continue to provide WHO-recommended levels of protection against Omicron and any other future variants.
Earlier this week, Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla said a new vaccine that specifically tackles the Omicron variant is likely to be needed, and that Pfizer could have one ready to launch by March.
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Michael Martin has said that the current Omicron wave of Covid has not yet reached its peak here in Ireland and is expected to do so within the coming weeks.
Speaking on Monday, ahead of Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, he said no new restrictions are expected and effectively ruled out a reported system of mandatory vaccines, saying that a voluntary vaccine system is favoured.
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