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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The World Health Organization anticipates vulnerable populations will need to get an annual COVID-19 booster shot to be protected against variants, while the general population may need one every two years, Reuters reports, citing an internal document.

Why it matters: The WHO forecasts that the need for boosters in wealthier countries could push poorer nations, which have barely received any vaccine, to the back of the line and further widen the gap of vaccine inequality.

Yes, but: The document does not say how these conclusions were reached and notes it's still a "work in progress."

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advisory committee said the vulnerable, like the elderly and transplant recipients, might need annual boosters but there was yet not enough evidence to support the need for boosters for the general population.

  • Pfizer and Moderna have publicly been in support of boosters but there has been little long-term scientific evidence.

The big picture: The estimates are expected to be discussed on Thursday at a board meeting of Gavi, a vaccine alliance that co-leads COVAX.

Go deeper

Newsom orders COVID-19 vaccine mandate for California students

Students attending school in L.A. Unified School District. Photo: Robyn Beck / AFP

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced on Friday that all eligible public and private school students will be mandated to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, once it has been given final approval from the FDA.

Why it matters: This is the first K-12 COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Oct 1, 2021 - Health

Sotomayor allows NYC schools' vaccine mandate to stay in place

Photo: Paul Marotta via Getty Images

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Friday blocked a challenge to New York City's vaccine requirement for public school teachers and employees, allowing the mandate to remain in place.

Why it matters: Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in August that all 148,000 staff members of the largest U.S. school district would need to submit proof of at least one dose of a COVID vaccine or risk unpaid leave until September 2022.

Murkowski slams comparisons of mask mandates to Nazism in Alaska

Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) voiced alarm and frustration about the surge of COVID cases in her state on Friday, decrying comparisons of mask mandates to Nazism.

Why it matters: Alaska's number of weekly cases has steadily increased in recent months, jumping 10% from just last week, according to state health data. Meanwhile, anti-vaxxers continue to protest mask and vaccine mandates in increasingly hostile situations.