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WHO says repeated COVID boosters not a viable strategy

A man receives a fourth Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a private nursing home, in Netanya, on January 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A man receives a fourth Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a private nursing home, in Netanya, on January 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

World Health Organization experts warn that repeating booster doses of the original COVID vaccines is not a viable strategy against emerging variants and call for new jabs that better protect against transmission.

An expert group created by the WHO to assess the performance of COVID-19 vaccines says simply providing fresh jabs of existing vaccines as new strains of the virus emerge is not the best way to fight the pandemic.

“A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable,” the WHO Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-Co-VAC) says in a statement.

The group says there may be a need to update the existing vaccines to better target emerging COVID variants, like Omicron, which has spread rapidly and has been detected in 149 countries so far.

Earlier this month, Israel became one of the first countries in the world to provide a 4th dose of the COVID vaccine when it rolled out such shots to Israelis over 60 and medical workers. Multiple countries are weighing or planning on following suit.

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