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WHO's group of experts on immunisation updates Covid vaccination guidance

The guidance newly considers the cost-effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccination for those at lower risk like healthy children and adolescents compared to other health interventions

Covid vaccines

Covid-19 vaccines (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

BS Web Team New Delhi

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World Health Organization's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) has revised the roadmap for prioritizing the use of Covid-19 vaccines, to reflect the impact of Omicron and high population-level immunity due to infection and vaccination, the global health agency said in a statement on Tuesday.  

According to the statement, the roadmap continues SAGE’s prioritisation of protecting people at higher risk of death and severe disease from SARS-CoV-2 infection. It also continues to focus on maintaining resilient health systems. The roadmap newly considers the cost-effectiveness of immunisation against Covid-19 for those at lower risk such as healthy children and adolescents as compared to other health interventions.

The roadmap also includes revised recommendations on additional booster doses and the spacing of boosters, the statement said. The current Covid-19 vaccines’ reduction of post-Covid conditions is also considered but the evidence on the extent of their impact is inconsistent.

SAGE Chair Dr Hanna Nohynek said, “Updated to reflect that much of the population is either vaccinated or previously infected with COVID-19, or both, the revised roadmap reemphasizes the importance of vaccinating those still at-risk of severe disease, mostly older adults and those with underlying conditions, including with additional boosters.”

He further stated in the statement, “Countries should consider their specific context in deciding whether to continue vaccinating low risk groups, like healthy children and adolescents, while not compromising the routine vaccines that are so crucial for the health and well-being of this age group.”

The revised roadmap outlines three priority-use groups for Covid-19 vaccination: high, medium, and low.

These priority groups are mainly based on risk of severe disease and death, and consider vaccine performance, cost-effectiveness, programmatic factors and community acceptance.

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First Published: Mar 28 2023 | 8:22 PM IST

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