Professor Adam Finn, a member of the JCVI and Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Bristol told BBC Radio 4’s Today programmme “we need to be evidence-based” on booster vaccines.
He said: “Getting the timing right is one of several things that we need to get right. You could conceivably run into a position where you’re immunising a lot of people when they don’t actually need to be, and if the vaccines do wane then they will wane earlier than they would have done if you’d immunised them when they did need to be.
“We do need to identify who needs boosting, which vaccine and what dose and when it can be done and get it logistically possible too.”
A consultation has begun on plans to mandate Covid-19 and flu vaccinations for frontline health and care staff, the Government has announced, PA reports.
The six-week consultation process will take views on whether vaccine requirements should apply for health and wider social care workers – those in contact with patients and people receiving care.
It would mean only those who are fully vaccinated, unless medically exempt, could be deployed to deliver health and care services.
Despite the WHO’s call for a moratorium, some countries have been arguing for booster jabs not only for vulnerable people, but also for the wider population, citing signs of waning vaccine effectiveness against the highly transmissible Delta variant.
The WHO has acknowledged that an additional dose could be needed for immunocompromised people, but stresses that, for healthy people, the vaccines still seem very effective, especially in preventing severe disease.
“There is not a compelling case to move forward with a generalised recommendation for booster doses,” Kate O’Brien, the WHO’s vaccines chief, told the news conference.
The UN health agency has set a global target of seeing every country vaccinate at least 10 percent of its population by the end of this month, and at least 40 percent by the end of this year.
It wants to see at least 70% of the world’s population vaccinated by the middle of next year.
But Tedros complained that while 90% of wealthy countries have hit the 10% mark, and more than 70% have already reached 40%, “not a single low-income country has reached either target”.
He expressed outrage at a statement by a pharmaceutical industry organisation that the world’s seven wealthiest nations, known as the G7, now had enough vaccines for all adults and teenagers – and to offer boosters to at-risk groups – and so the focus should shift to dose sharing.
When I read this, I was appalled.
In reality, manufacturers and high-income countries have long had the capacity to not only vaccinate their own priority groups, but to simultaneously support the vaccination of those same groups in all countries.
The World Health Organization called on Wednesday for countries to avoid giving out extra Covid jabs until year-end, pointing to the millions worldwide who have yet to receive a single dose, AFP reports.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists:
I will not stay silent when the companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers.
Speaking from WHO’s headquarters in Geneva, Tedros urged wealthy countries and vaccine makers to prioritise getting the first jabs to health workers and vulnerable populations in poorer nations over boosters.
We do not want to see widespread use of boosters for healthy people who are fully vaccinated.
The WHO called last month for a moratorium on Covid-19 vaccine booster shots until the end of September to address the drastic inequity in dose distribution between rich and poor nations.
But Tedros acknowledged Wednesday that there had “been little change in the global situations since then. “So today I am calling for an extension of the moratorium until at least the end of the year,” he said.
High-income countries had promised to donate more than one billion vaccine doses to poorer countries, he said – but less than 15% of those doses have materialised.
We don’t want any more promises. We just want the vaccines.
Washington pushed back against the call for the moratorium, saying Joe Biden has “a responsibility to do everything we can to protect people in the United States.”
“We are doing both, we think we can do both and we will continue to do both,” said the White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Japan said on Thursday it will extend emergency Covid restrictions in Tokyo and other regions until the end of this month to curb infections and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed, saying it was too early to let down its guard, Reuters reports.
Japan has been struggling with a fifth wave of the virus and last month extended its long-running curbs until 12 September to cover about 80% of its population.
However, the number of severe cases and the strain on the medical system have not eased sufficiently in Tokyo and surrounding areas to allow restrictions to be lifted.
The government will extend the measures until Sept. 30, including for Osaka, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said after meeting with an advisory panel, which ratified the plan.
Japan’s emergency curbs have centred on asking restaurants to close early and refrain from serving alcohol.
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Japan said on Thursday it will extend emergency restrictions in Tokyo and other regions until the end of this month to curb infections and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed, saying it was too early to let down its guard.
Meanwhile the World Health Organization called on Wednesday for countries to avoid giving out extra Covid jabs until year-end, pointing to the millions worldwide who have yet to receive a single dose.
More on these stories shortly. In the meantime here are the other key recent developments from around the world.
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