COVID-19 boosters not a viable strategy, WHO experts say

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo by Gent Shkullaku via CFP)
A healthcare worker prepares a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo by Gent Shkullaku via CFP)

The World Health Organization (WHO) experts said on Tuesday repeated COVID-19 boosters not a viable strategy against the pandemic.

The remarks come after some countries rolled out fourth booster doses for their populations in efforts to strengthen the vaccines’ efficacy.

Israel was the first country to roll out the fourth doses in late December.

Chile became the latest to introduce the extra doses on Monday, targeting everyone aged 55 years and older who is at least six months past their initial booster shot.

Despite the roll out of the extra doses however, their necessity has come under question.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Monday it is still too early to know if they’re at all necessary.

The WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom has been vocal against the rush to administer booster doses, especially as some low-income countries continue to struggle with vaccine acquisition.

The WHO chief last month pointed out that blanket COVID-19 vaccine booster programs could prolong the pandemic and increase inequity.

“No country can boost its way out of the pandemic,” he said in Geneva at his final press briefing for the 2021.

“And boosters cannot be seen as a ticket to go ahead with planned celebrations, without the need for other precautions,” he added.