- WHO top researcher said it is too early to recommend COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.
- Soumya Swaminathan said we do not have enough data yet.
- Vaccine manufacturers are developing additional doses that can boost the immune response in fully vaccinated people.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The World Health Organization’s top researcher says it’s too early to recommend COVID-19 booster shots.
Vaccine manufacturers are developing extra doses that can boost the immune response in fully vaccinated people, but Soumya Swaminathan, chief researcher at the WHO, said that “we do not have the information needed to make a recommendation on whether a booster will be needed. “
Swaminathan told Bloomberg on Friday that it was “too early”
Swaminathan said data from countries introducing cautious extra shots later in the year – especially for vulnerable people whose immunity to coronavirus may decline more rapidly – would inform WHO guidance, Bloomberg reported.
Booster doses aim to re-ignite the immune response, which is reduced over time, and to protect against coronavirus variants. But as Insider previously reported, questions remain as to when they are needed, or whether they are needed at all, because we do not know how long a COVID-19 vaccine will protect you from.
Moderna said on May 5 that early laboratory data showed a third dose of its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine-boosted antibody levels, which is part of the immune response. Pfizer and AstraZeneca have not yet released the results of their booster shot trial.
Dr. Jennifer Verani, co-lead of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine efficacy team, told Insider that her team was focused on getting data to inform booster shot decisions. “I really do not think we can speculate at this point what the recommendations will be in terms of a booster,” she said.
Read more: Experts explain why the mRNA technology that revolutionized COVID-19 vaccines could be the answer to incurable diseases, heart attacks and even snake bites: ‘The possibilities are endless’
Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told Bloomberg that the existing COVID-19 vaccines so far work “well enough” to protect against Beta, Delta and the other two strains that the WHO has identified as variants of concern.
Matt Hancock, the British secretary of state for health and social care, said on Monday that the country plans to provide booster shots in the autumn pending the results of trials testing various combinations of COVID-19 vaccines. The UK is potentially facing a further increase in infections driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, first identified in India, which may partially avoid the immune response.