“Right now it’s like throwing a second buoy for some while others are drowning next door,” WHO (World Health Organization) Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday (25). on the decision of some countries to give a booster dose to those who have already been fully immune to Covid.
More than a moral issue, it is a public policy error, several directors of the organization said. “Policymakers should not use scarce resources like the vaccine in an unproven application, diverting it from its two main priorities at the moment: preventing deaths and preventing the emergence of more dangerous variants,” said Kate O’Brien. , director of immunization at the WHO.
Although not recommended by the international entity, the governments have opted for the application of a reinforcement in a part of their population, mainly in an attempt to contain the additional risk of the more contagious delta variant.
This is the case in Brazil: on Wednesday, the federal government announced that seniors will start receiving it on September 15, and the government of São Paulo will start the third series of injections on the 6th, for those over 60 years old.
For WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan, precipitation can be both unnecessary and inefficient. She says that a recent group of scientists from several leading institutes concluded that there is still not enough evidence on the effectiveness of a third dose or on its safety.
On the other hand, there is already a consensus that the full vaccination initially prescribed (one dose, in the case of Janssen, and two doses for the others) offers lasting protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death, which are the great evil of this pandemic, according to O’Brien.
“Without scientific evidence that a booster is needed, vaccines must go to the most vulnerable and to doctors and nurses desperate for protection in the poorest countries of the world,” said the director of immunization.
It is also a long-term issue, according to her, since the slow progression of vaccination in one part of the world keeps the pandemic active, in addition to opening the way for mutations that may even escape the protection offered by them. drugs used at the time.
Last week, according to WHO data, 4.5 million people were diagnosed with Covid and 68,000 died from the disease worldwide. “There has been stabilization, but at a very high and, above all, very uneven level,” Ghebreyesus said.
Swaminathan said that only with more experience will it be possible to determine whether booster shots are really necessary and that this recommendation may vary depending on the immunizing agent taken previously, the variant present. in the country and the risk group in question.