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There Is No Evidence That Healthy Children Need Booster Doses: WHO Chief Scientist

New York: Several countries have been administering COVID vaccine booster shots to its younger population. But according to World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, there is “no evidence at all” that healthy children and adolescents need a booster shot against COVID-19.

“There is no evidence right now that healthy children or healthy adolescents need boosters… No evidence at all,” she said while addressing a press conference on Wednesday.

Swaminathan admitted vaccine immunity seems to be waning against the highly-transmissible Omicron variant of coronavirus, but added that more research is needed to ascertain who needs booster doses.

India recently started inoculating those in the age-group of 15 to 18 years, so the question of booster dose doesn’t arise now.

US regulator Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved use of a third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine as booster for children between 12 and 15 years of age.

Israel is also offering booster doses to 12-year-olds, even as the opposition has claimed that booster shots are profit-making ventures for pharmaceutical companies.

Germany is the latest country to recommend booster jabs for children between 12 and 17 years of age. Hungary, another EU nation, has also authorised additional jabs for its adolescent population, while the UK is going ahead with its programme of administering a booster to young adults in the country.

The WHO hasn’t dismissed the need to administer booster shots to certain vulnerable sections of the population. A group of international experts is due to meet later this week to discuss and formulate a policy on how countries should consider giving boosters.

“The aim is to protect the most vulnerable, to protect those at the highest risk of severe disease and death. Those are our elderly populations, immuno-compromised people with underlying conditions, but also healthcare workers,” Swaminathan said.