WHO experts back extra Covid jab for immunocompromised

By: AFP      Published: 08:21 PM, 11 Oct, 2021
Additional dose of all authorised Covid-19 vaccines.
WHO experts back extra Covid jab for immunocompromised.

The World Health Organization's vaccine advisers on Monday recommended people with weaker immune systems should be offered an additional dose of all authorised Covid-19 vaccines.

The UN health agency's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) also said over-60s who have been fully immunised with China's Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccine should be offered an additional third Covid-19 vaccine dose.

The experts stressed they were not recommending an additional so-called booster dose for the population at large.

Several Covid-19 vaccines have been given WHO approval for emergency use during the pandemic: Pfizer-BioNTech, Janssen, Moderna, Sinopharm, Sinovac and AstraZeneca.

It is on the verge of deciding whether to give emergency use listing to India's Bharat Biotech jab.

SAGE held a four-day meeting last week to review the latest information and data on a range of vaccines for Covid-19 and other diseases.

"SAGE recommended that moderately and severely immunocompromised persons should be offered an additional dose of all WHO EUL (emergency use listing) Covid-19 vaccines as part of an extended primary series," the group said.

"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."

It also said that for people fully immunised with Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, an additional third dose of the same jab "should be offered to persons aged 60 and above".

A different vaccine "may also be considered based on vaccine supply and access considerations".

SAGE added that when implementing this recommendation, countries should initially aim at maximising two-dose coverage in that population, and thereafter administer the third dose, starting in the oldest age groups.