Following the meeting of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) in Geneva, the World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its guidance on the Covid vaccine. These new SAGE recommendations take into account the impact of the Omicron variant and the high level of immunity now achieved in the world population.
Immunity acquired thanks to the vast vaccination campaign around the world: nearly 13.3 billion doses of Covid vaccine have been administered across the planet since the appearance of the virus. The Express provides an update on these new recommendations.
End of booster dose for healthy under 60s
People under 60, said to be at medium risk, do not require an additional dose of anti-Covid vaccines, beyond the primary vaccination and a first booster. The WHO estimates that the health benefits become “skinny”. If resorting to a new dose does not carry risks, it is however advisable to avoid it, in particular to preserve serums intended for the fragile public.
Three priority levels
In this sense, the WHO wanted to redefine its priority categories, so as to better protect the most exposed. SAGE now offers three priority levels (high, medium and low) for Covid vaccination based on the risk of developing a severe form of the disease or death.
Thus, the elderly, adults with comorbidities, all immunocompromised people, pregnant women and frontline health workers are advised to get vaccinated with the booster dose. Experts recommend an interval of six to twelve months between boosters, depending on morbidity.
A vaccine that is not very effective against long forms of Covid
Among the conclusions of the advisory and strategic group, one of them provides information on the impact of vaccines on long Covid. Experts report that the evidence “lacks consistency” in asserting the suitability of the vaccine. The extreme fatigue or inability to concentrate associated with this form of Covid should not be diminished with the injection.
Soon new methods of administration?
In order to immunize a wider public, the WHO is also considering diversifying the methods of administration. Serums for nasal, oral or cutaneous administration are studied. It is undoubtedly the first which is the most advanced.
Discussing two nasally administered vaccines, including one used in China, SAGE Executive Secretary Joachim Hombach stressed: “We know they are immunogenic… But what we really need is data that actually studies the impact on transmission – because that could indeed make a big difference.” See you then for the next publication of the WHO recommendations.