No Data to Recommend ‘Preferred’ Omicron Booster Jabs: WHO Panel

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) panel of vaccine experts said Tuesday that there isn’t enough data to recommend a COVID-19 booster jab for the Omicron variant over the original virus.

A four-variant mRNA vaccine containing Omicron’s bivalent subvariant BA.1 or BA.4–5 in combination with an ‘ancestral virus’ is approved for use as a booster dose.

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) said: statement The “safety and immunogenicity” of a bivalent vaccine when given as a booster to adults was examined in comparison with the results of clinical trials of other types of vaccines.

A bivalent vaccine is designed to target two different strains of the virus. They contain both the original virus strain mRNA and the Omicron variants that account for nearly all virus samples collected over the past 30 days.

According to SAGE, bivalent jabs targeting the dominant subvariant may offer only “small incremental gains.” decision A top public health priority is to increase primary uptake of vaccines containing the ‘ancestral strain’ of the virus.

“[C]The currently available data are insufficient to support a recommendation for a vaccine booster containing bivalent variants in preference to an ancestral virus-only booster,” SAGE added.

According to the WHO panel, either a monovalent jab designed for the original strain or a shot containing a bivalent variant can be used as a booster.

A WHO panel says these shots, given as a booster four to six months after the last dose, “improve protection against the currently circulating SARS-CoV-2.”

“Most of the gains will come from providing the first booster dose, especially the first booster dose, regardless of whether it is a monovalent or bivalent vaccine,” SAGE said.

“Moderate effect” seen only in the laboratory, not in the clinical setting

According to SAGE Executive Director Joachim Hombach, the vaccine containing the variant neutralizes the virus as well as the ancestral shot, but “slightly better at neutralizing the Omicron variant.

“This is a relatively modest effect that we can see in the laboratory,” he said, adding that due to the lack of data on efficacy, “these laboratory measures cannot be associated with increased clinical protection.” added.

“Because our recommendations must be evidence-based, we cannot make statements favoring these vaccines,” Hombach said in a statement obtained by the press.

Hombach argued that vaccine boosters “whether tailored for Omicron or not” are “making a difference” in the fight against COVID-19.

“These vaccines are perfectly fine, but more importantly [for protection] It’s about actually getting the vaccine,” he said.

Kayden Pearson


Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia. To contact him, please contact [email protected].