Do you still need a COVID-19 shot? WHO updates guidance

The World Health Organization says countries don't need to prioritize COVID-19 vaccines for certain groups, including children.
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Posted at 12:41 PM, Mar 30, 2023

The World Health Organization is advising countries to reevaluate guidance for who needs a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization says children six months to 17 years old are considered low priority. 

The experts, known as SAGE, note that the vaccines are safe and effective. However, they say countries should consider factors such as the disease burden, cost effectiveness and other health priorities before recommending the vaccine for children. 

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In the U.S., health officials recommend the COVID-19 vaccines for those 6 months or older. Boosters are also recommended in the U.S for anyone 5 years and older. 

SAGE says healthy adults, usually under 50, without comorbidities and children with comorbidities only need one booster shot. 

"Although additional boosters are safe for this group, SAGE does not routinely recommend them, given the comparatively low public health returns," the World Health Organization said in a statement. 

Additional boosters are recommended for the high-priority group, which includes older adults, younger adults with significant comorbidities, people who are immunocompromised, pregnant individuals and front-line health care workers.

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not said whether they will reevaluate their guidance following the recommendations from the World Health Organization. 

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