UK panel recommends COVID-19 booster shots for those over 50 | World news

By DANICA KIRKA, Associated Press

LONDON (AP) – An expert advisory group on Tuesday recommended that the UK government offer a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone over 50 to protect against declining protection this winter.

The recommendation of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepared to announce the government’s new plan to tackle the pandemic. The World Health Organization has asked rich countries to delay booster injections until each country has vaccinated at least 40% of its population.

The JCVI said booster shots were needed to ensure vulnerable people are protected from COVID-19, as studies have shown that immunity conferred by vaccines weakens over time. The panel recommended that people over 50 receive a booster shot six months after receiving their second dose of the vaccine.

The move comes despite calls from the WHO, which has urged wealthy countries with large reserves of coronavirus vaccines to refrain from offering boosters until the end of the year and return the doses. available for the poorest countries.

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WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week called for restraint, saying he could not remain silent when the companies and countries that control the global vaccine supply think the world’s poor should be content with the leftovers.

Israel provided third doses to a wide range of people who had already received a full two-dose regimen months earlier. U.S. health officials continue to assess the science and usefulness of boosters.

WHO officials insist that the scientific rationale for boosters remains unclear.

Oxford University professor Sarah Gilbert told The Telegraph last week that the vaccine’s immunity held up well, even against the delta variant. While the elderly and those who are immunocompromised may need boosters, the standard two-dose regimen provides long-lasting protection for most people, she said.

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