The World Health Organization’s (WHO) top doctor said Tuesday that children and teenagers don’t need to get booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines.
The organization’s chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said that the main purpose of boosters is to protect society’s most vulnerable. She said the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) will meet later this week to discuss how countries should approach their booster distribution strategies.
WHO says there’s no evidence healthy children and adolescents need Covid boosters https://t.co/SX2kIpSeXd
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“The aim is to protect the most vulnerable, to protect those at highest risk of severe disease and dying. Those are our elderly populations, immunocompromised, people with underlying conditions, but also healthcare workers … there’s no evidence right now that healthy children, or healthy adolescents, need boosters. No evidence at all.”
“Our focus, considering that we still have so many unvaccinated people in the world, is to vaccinate, provide primary doses to those who have not been vaccinated so far,” she added.
Children and adolescents are not at significant risk of severe COVID-19 cases, and that has become even more true with the dominance of Omicron, which is a milder variant than previous versions of the virus. Around 1,100 Americans aged 17 and under have died of the virus during the entirety of the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), representing roughly 0.1% of total COVID-19 deaths nationwide.
The WHO has been consistently critical of wealthy countries that have prioritized boosting their own populations over distributing first and second doses of vaccines to the rest of the world. (RELATED: Fauci Admits Many Children Hospitalized With COVID-19 Aren’t There Because Of The Virus)
Earlier in January, the CDC recommended booster vaccines for kids aged 12 and up, following Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Pfizer’s booster for that age group. CDC director Rochelle Walensky explicitly said the agency recommended boosters for all kids 12 and up, not just those who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19.