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Old 01-19-2022, 02:46 PM
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BE Hi. My question is, will the vaccine booster be the last dose to [unclear] global immunity to the COVID virus? Can you explain a little more on the subject? In other words, if everyone in the world had been vaccinated with the booster dose would the pandemic still exist? Thanks.

CL We didn't quite get the beginning of your question but I think we'll go on the... if everybody... Okay, let's try to repeat this, Belisa, just the beginning. We couldn't hear.

BE My question is, will the vaccine booster be the last dose to [unclear] global immunity to the COVID virus?

CL Will boosters give global immunity, lasting immunity to the virus? Is that what we heard?

SS I can start and maybe Bruce or Kate may want to come in. This question of the boosters is also something that we've been looking at very closely and again we've always said that we will follow the science.

What the science is telling us now - and we look across the different vaccines that are being used around the world because if you remember, there are three aspects that can affect immunity.


One is the person and their own status. The older you are, the more underlying conditions you have or if you're on immunosuppressive drugs then your immune system may be weak and so you may need additional help to boost that immune response so it's the biological factors.

The second of course is the variant and we've seen that starting from the beginning, the ancestral strain different variants have had different levels of immune escape and with omicron we know that it has the highest levels of immune escape or immune evasion that we've seen across all of the variant so far. Beta and gamma also had that.

Then the third variable of course is the vaccine itself and there are differences between the different vaccines in how high the antibody response is, how long the protective immunity lasts and so on.

But again the good thing is that across all of the vaccines high levels of protection against severe disease, that's the outcome we're most interested in, protection against death. Against omicron many of the vaccines have shown a reduction in efficacy against infection and that's why we see a lot of breakthrough infections but these are mostly not resulting in severe disease so that's a positive.


There is some waning which occurs over a period of time and we've seen that there's a slight drop in the protection again mostly against infection but also a little bit against the severe disease and we need more of those studies, we need to follow this out.

That is why we've said, putting all of those together, the aim is to protect the most vulnerable, to protect those at highest risk of severe disease and dying. Those are our elderly populations, the immunocompromised, people with underlying conditions but also healthcare workers because if a lot of healthcare workers get infected, as we see now, they can be out sick and we don't want them getting severely ill so to reserve boosters for that population.

There's no evidence right now that healthy children or healthy adolescents need boosters, no evidence at all so this is why the SAGE, which is our technical expert body that makes policy recommendations, has been meeting and will continue to meet, will meet later this week to consider this specific question of how should countries think about giving boosters to their populations with a view to protecting people, with a view to reducing deaths.


The above is the entire section where boosters were discussed. What she said was taken out of context. Should be read from 31.06 to 35.11 It was about prioritizing boosters according to those most most vulnerable and based on particular circumstances. Since there was no current evidence boosters are needed for healthy 12-17 year olds they should not be a priority at this time. The point is that at this time there is no evidence either way according to WHO.

If you read the entire Reuter's post it also clarifies the rationale for the WHO statement.
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