- Covid-19 booster shots not recommended amid high vaccination efficacy: Study
- Countries such as France have begun to provide third shots to the elderly.
According to new research published on Monday in The Lancet, vaccinations are effective enough in avoiding severe Covid-19 cases that there is no need for the people to take third doses.
Because of concerns about the much more contagious Delta variant, some countries have begun offering extra doses, prompting the World Health Organization to call for a moratorium on third jabs, citing concerns about vaccine supplies to poorer countries, where millions have yet to receive their first jab.
Scientists, including those from the WHO, agreed in a new study that, even with the possibility of Delta, “booster doses for the general public are not suitable at this stage in the pandemic.”
The scientists discovered that vaccinations remain extremely effective against severe Covid-19 symptoms across all major virus strains, including Delta, although possessing a lower success rate in preventing asymptomatic cases of the disease.
“Taken as a whole, the currently available studies do not provide credible evidence of substantially declining protection against severe disease, which is the primary goal of vaccination,” stated WHO lead author Ana-Maria Henao-Restrepo.
She stated that vaccine doses should be prioritised for people all around the world who are still waiting for a vaccination.
“If vaccinations are administered where they would do the most good, they may hasten the end of the pandemic by preventing further development of variants,” she adds.
According to the Lancet study, existing variants have not evolved sufficiently to avoid the immune response provided by currently administered vaccines.
If new virus mutations develop that are able to avoid this response, the scientists believe that it would be preferable to administer specially modified vaccine boosters targeting at the newer variants rather than a third dosage of an existing vaccination.
Azra Ghani, Chair of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London, hailed the study as a “very thorough review” of recent findings.
However, she stated that while the decline in efficacy of vaccinations against variants such as Delta may be small, when evaluated across a population, it may result in “a significant rise” in persons needing hospitalisation.
“Even in the most developed nations, even tiny differences may put a tremendous strain on the health system,” she said in a statement to the Science Media Centre, adding that booster immunizations were not “one size fits all.”