WHO says it "strongly supports" immediate access to COVID boosters
The World Health Organization's advisory group on COVID vaccines said Tuesday it "strongly supports urgent and broad access" to booster doses.
Why it matters: WHO officials, including Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, had strongly called on wealthy countries with large vaccine supplies to forgo booster shots through the end of 2021 due to a global vaccine disparity.
- The expert panel said in January that evidence "supporting the need for booster, particularly for the highest risk groups, has become increasingly clear over the last few months."
Driving the news: An expert group convened by the WHO said it supports boosters, "particularly for groups at risk of developing severe disease, given that current COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide high levels of protection against severe disease and death," according to a statement.
- The WHO also said it is monitoring the global spread of Omicron.
The big picture: Tedros last year called for a moratorium on booster doses through the end of 2021, saying wealthy countries should instead donate those vaccines to poor countries.
- The organization earlier this year also said that healthy children and adolescents do not need COVID-19 boosters shots.
Editor's note: This article has been corrected to take out a reference calling this a "reversal" and instead indicates WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu had recommended wealthy countries forgo boosters through the end of 2021.