US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle P. Walensky on Friday expanded recommendations for booster doses for Covid-19 to all adults. The recommendation means all adults who received a dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine are eligible for a booster shot six months after their second dose.
The US has around 47 million unvaccinated adults, the CDC said.
Booster shots have demonstrated that it can increase protection against Covid-19 infections and severe outcomes, Walensky said in a CDC release.
The third shot is an important public health tool to strengthen the defence against the virus ahead of the winter holidays. Based on compelling evidence, all adults should have equitable access to a booster dose, she added.
Booster shots in other countries
The US apart, Canada also plans to recommend booster shots for severely or moderately immunocompromised individuals. Last month, the European Union’s drug regulator made a similar recommendation.
EU countries such as Italy, Germany, and Austria are already offering booster doses to all adults. The likes of Spain and Sweden have targeted the booster doses at certain population groups such as the immunocompromised and the elderly. The UK, Israel, Turkey, South Korea, and Brazil are also administering booster shots.
Around 12% of vaccinations administered around the globe on November 18 were booster doses. Chile, Israel, and Uruguay have administered the highest number of booster shots per 100 people as of now.
WHO position on booster doses
The World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly urged countries not to administer booster shots. In a note published in October, the WHO said evidence for booster doses was limited and inconclusive.
The WHO said broad-based administration of booster doses risked exacerbating inequities in vaccine access amid ongoing global vaccine supply constraints.
According to the latest data from Our World in Data, Africa has the most countries that have managed to administer 0-20 doses per 100 people. Only 5% of the low-income population has received at least one dose. Over half or 52.6% of the global population has received at least a dose of the vaccine.
India’s stance on booster doses
There is no intimation in India yet about booster doses. Some factors that India will have to consider before deciding on booster shots include vaccine effectiveness, waning immunity, supply. India has administered 1.15 billion doses since the vaccination campaign started on January 16.