A Covid-19 vaccine booster for vulnerable people is not a luxury but a good way to protect them, the World Health Organization said, as soaring infection rates and a pan-European slowdown in vaccination have produced a “deeply worrying” situation.
“A third dose of vaccine is not a luxury booster taken away from someone still waiting for a first vaccine,” Dr Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said on Monday. “It’s basically a way to protect the most vulnerable. “
The comments appeared to contradict a WHO statement earlier this month that the available data did not suggest the need for booster vaccines. The organization had warned that supplementing those already fully immunized would only increase immunization inequalities between richer and lower-income countries.
More than 30 of the 53 states that make up the organization’s European region last week reported a 10% or more increase in their 14-day Covid-19 incidence rate, Kluge said, while the vaccination, especially among at-risk groups, was still low in several.