The World Health Organization (WHO) has revised its recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination, advising that only high-risk groups should receive additional vaccinations 12 months after their last booster, not healthy children and adolescents. The WHO states that this change applies to older people and younger people with significant risk factors.
According to the WHO, vaccination protection beyond the basic immunization of two vaccinations and a booster is no longer generally recommended for people with “medium risk.” The WHO is calling on countries to consider diseases before recommending vaccination for healthy children and adolescents. The WHO Expert Group on Immunization issued the recommendations and reaffirmed the importance of vaccinating those at risk of developing severe disease.
This new guidance comes as countries continue to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of new variants. The WHO hopes that these recommendations will help countries prioritize vaccination efforts and ensure that those most at risk receive the additional protection they need.
Different countries have different approaches to vaccinating their populations. Wealthy countries like the United Kingdom and Canada are offering booster vaccinations to risk groups this spring, only six months after their last immunization. However, according to the WHO, this is only a possibility for particularly risky subgroups, depending on their age and immune deficiencies.
It is important to note that these are only recommendations and that each country has the autonomy to make its own decisions about vaccination policies based on its unique circumstances.
The WHO’s updated recommendations emphasize the importance of vaccinating those who are most vulnerable and at risk of developing severe disease. These groups include older people and younger people with significant risk factors. By prioritizing vaccinations for these individuals, countries can help to protect their populations from the worst effects of the pandemic.
The WHO’s guidance is part of a broader effort to control the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that everyone has access to the protection they need. While the pandemic continues to pose significant challenges, the WHO is committed to working with countries and partners around the world to develop effective strategies for managing the disease and reducing its impact on public health.