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16/1/2022

This is not yet known. To make a recommendation on the use of booster doses for the general population, data are needed on vaccine performance over time, if and when booster doses may be beneficial, along with safety of booster doses. All of these aspects vary by vaccine product and by disease risk groups.

COVID-19 severe cases and deaths are predominantly occurring among unvaccinated people. It is important to remember that all vaccines with WHO Emergency Use Listing are highly effective against severe disease and death. Therefore, the primary series of vaccination (two doses for most vaccines) is the most important in reducing the number of cases, deaths and spread of the disease.

As of November 2021, WHO recommends an “additional” dose in the primary dose series to target populations where the immune response rate following the standard primary series is deemed insufficient, such as Immunocompromised people, people 60 years and over; and those vaccinated with inactivated vaccines.

WHO calls on countries to prioritize vulnerable populations (such as residents and staff of long-term care settings; people aged ≥60 years; adults with underlying medical conditions) and health care workers should they plan to implement booster doses to minimize severe COVID-19 cases.

WHO is monitoring the evidence regarding the need for boosters and will adjust recommendations as appropriate.

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