Home / Science / News /  Do children need COVID booster shots? WHO chief scientist answers
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World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said that there is no evidence at all that healthy children and adolescents need booster doses against COVID-19. Regarding Omicron, she pointed out there is no need to create a new vaccine for each new variant.

Do children need booster shots?

“There is no evidence right now that healthy children or healthy adolescents need boosters," she said during a press conference on Wednesday. “No evidence at all."

This comes at a time when several countries including the United States, Germany, Israel have rolled out booster doses for kids. Meanwhile, India has started vaccinating teenagers in the age group of 15 to 18 earlier this month.

Who needs booster shots? 

Swaminathan pointed out that the effect of vaccines starts waning over time against the rapidly spreading Omicron, more research is needed to ascertain who needs booster doses.

She notified leading experts will meet later this week to consider the specific question of how countries should consider giving boosters to their populations.

“The aim is to protect the most vulnerable, to protect those at the highest risk of severe disease and death," she said. “Those are our elderly populations, immuno-compromised people with underlying conditions, but also healthcare workers."

Do we need new vaccines against Omicron?

The WHO chief scientist asserted there is no need to create a new vaccine for each new variant.

Rather we must invest in R&D for protective vaccines against all coronoviruses. Academics working on broadly neutralizing antibodies can work with vaccine developers to identify consensus sequences, she added. 

How well are the current vaccines working against COVID?

Swaminathan said WHO is "tracking all of the vaccine effectiveness studies being done around the world". 

She further reassures that the vaccines are protecting people against severe illness, hospitalization and death.

“We encourage countries that are using a variety of different vaccines, to generate effectiveness data by age & time since vaccination. While the majority of vaccines still provide good protection against severe disease and death, it is imp to track performance to inform policy," she said. 

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