A study in the British medical journal The Lancet has strengthened calls for authorities to scrap "inappropriate" Covid-19 booster shots, focusing instead on allocating them to millions who are yet to receive their shot first.
A GROUP of scientists and health experts revealed on Monday there is scientific evidence to conclude that Covid-19 vaccine booster shots are not yet needed for the general population despite fears of new variants and vaccine efficacy.
The report published in The Lancet, a peer-reviewed general medical journal, suggested that at this stage of the pandemic, administering third doses of the vaccines are inappropriate, recommending it should be allocated to millions who are yet to receive their shots first.
They likewise added that there is no available evidence yet to back the need for a third dose of the vaccines for the rest of the population who are fully inoculated already, arguing all offered vaccines remain highly effective against severe symptoms.
“Current evidence does not, therefore, appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high,” the scientists highlighted.
“Even if humoral immunity appears to wane, reductions in neutralizing antibody titre do not necessarily predict reductions in vaccine efficacy over time, and reductions in vaccine efficacy against mild disease do not necessarily predict reductions in the (typically higher) efficacy against severe disease.”
Moreover, the report suggests that it is possible that widespread and impulsive use of booster shots may reveal potential side effects and other reactions not known, therefore impeding the public image of global effort on vaccination.
However, the authors believe that booster shots could appropriately be given to individuals who are immunocompromised or to those who received the vaccine with less efficacy, in order to guarantee higher protection.
On the other hand, the experts said boosters would only be fully acceptable for the general population if new variants emerge that put current generation of vaccines less effective.
“Although the idea of further reducing the number of Covid-19 cases by enhancing immunity in vaccinated people is appealing, any decision to do so should be evidence-based and consider the benefits and risks for individuals and society,” they remarked.
Saving more lives
The findings come as countries, particularly high-income nations, started to offer third shots of the coronavirus vaccines amid fears of the highly contagious Delta and doubts on how long the vaccine efficacy last.
Earlier, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for a moratorium on giving booster shots until the end of the year to ensure low-income countries get enough vaccine supplies that could immunized at least 10 percent of their respective populations by end September and 40 percent by end December.
Ghebreyesus and the WHO argued that with the present vaccine inequality, the pandemic will remain a global threat since it could further mutate with a lot of people still infected.
“Careful and public scrutiny of the evolving data will be needed to assure that decisions about boosting are informed by reliable science more than by politics,” the authors emphasized.
“Even if boosting were eventually shown to decrease the medium-term risk of serious disease, current vaccine supplies could save more lives if used in previously unvaccinated populations than if used as boosters in vaccinated populations.”
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