(CTN News) – World Health Organization vaccine experts have revised their global Covid-19 vaccination recommendations, and healthy kids and teenagers may not need one.
The World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) updated its roadmap to prioritize Covid-19 vaccines for the most vulnerable.
As a result of vaccines and infection, countries have high immunity levels due to the Omicron stage, the group announced following a recent meeting.
A streamlined set of recommendations focuses on high-, medium-, and low-risk groups.
For high-priority groups, such as older adults, immunocompromised people of all ages, front-line health workers, and pregnant women, additional booster doses of Covid-19 vaccine can be administered six or 12 months after their last booster dose.
The group recommends primary vaccination and the first booster dose for those at medium risk, but does not recommend routine additional boosters. Under the age of about 60, this group includes children and adolescents with health risks.
Countries should consider vaccination based on factors such as disease burden and cost-effectiveness for healthy children six months to 17 years old.
According to SAGE, vaccination of healthy children and adolescents has a much lower public health impact than traditional essential vaccines for children like the rotavirus, measles, and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines.
As the pandemic evolves, vaccine guidance may change based on current epidemiological conditions.
Vaccine recommendations are also based on countries’ vaccine supplies and progress.
People with a high risk of severe Covid-19 may be offered another bivalent booster, for example, by US officials. The United Kingdom and Canada have already begun allowing certain people to receive another bivalent booster. Experts have also acknowledged competing health priorities.
SAGE Chair Dr. Hanna Nohynek said Tuesday that Covid-19 has taken a heavy toll on immunization programs.
The effort has been tremendous, and many countries have achieved high coverage rates. However, we still need to reduce inequity, reach the high-priority groups, and close the coverage gaps.”
In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nohynek said children needed to catch up on routine vaccinations they missed.
In light of the rising number of cases of measles across WHO’s regions, she emphasized the importance of strengthening and restoring immunization programs worldwide. There is a known “tracer” of vaccine-preventable diseases in communities when measles is present.
A dose of injectable polio vaccine is also recommended when there is persistent poliovirus circulation in several countries.
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