The World Health Organization’s (WHO) top scientist has warned that there is “no evidence at all” to support claims that healthy children and adolescents need booster shots to protect against COVID-19.
Speaking during a media briefing on Tuesday, the WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the goal needs to be protecting specific vulnerable populations.
“The aim is to protect the most vulnerable, to protect those at highest risk of severe disease and dying,” the WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said.
“Those are our elderly populations, the immunocompromised, people with underlying conditions, but also health care workers because if a lot of health care workers get infected as we see now, they can be out sick and we don’t want them getting severely ill.”
“There’s no evidence right now that healthy children or healthy adolescents need boosters,” she added. “No evidence at all.”
The executive director for the WHO’s health emergencies program, Dr. Michael Ryan, said they have not determined how many doses of the vaccine they will say people need or how often people will need to get shots.
“I think people do have a certain fear out there that this booster thing is going to be like every two or three months and everyone’s going to have to go and get a booster,” Ryan said.
“And I don’t think we have the answer to that yet.”
He said scientists may eventually redefine how many doses are required in the primary series of Covid shots.
Swaminathan’s and Ryan’s comments come roughly two weeks after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved booster shots for adolescents aged 12 to 17 amid the current surge in coronavirus cases due to the highly contagious omicron variant.
As Slay News recently reported, the WHO has also warned against the use of vaccine mandates and repeated “booster” shots to tackle COVID-19.
In a statement, the United Nations (UN) health body warns that a vaccination strategy based on repeated doses of the original vaccines is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable.
Recognizing the inability of the shots to stop the spread, the WHO urged governments around the world to end vaccine mandates.
The agency said that future Covid vaccines must “be more effective in protection against infection thus lowering community transmission.”