World Health Organization experts and European Union regulators are interestingly warning against the frequent use of COVID booster shots as a strategy to address emerging variants of the coronavirus. The WHO instead called for new vaccines that better protect against transmission.
"A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable," the WHO Technical Advisory Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Composition or TAG-Co-VAC said in a statement released on Tuesday, as per The Guardian.
TAG-Co-VAC is a group of experts who are focusing on assessing the performance of COVID vaccines. Instead of using the original COVID vaccines released in 2020, the group suggests developing new vaccines that not only protect COVID patients from severe illness, but actually better prevent infections in the first place.
"Covid-19 vaccines that have high impact on prevention of infection and transmission, in addition to the prevention of severe disease and death, are needed and should be developed," the advisory group urged, arguing that it would help decrease "community transmission and the need for stringent and broad-reaching public health and social measures."
TAG-Co-VAC also suggested to pharmaceutical companies that develop COVID vaccines to create jabs that "elicit immune responses that are broad, strong, and long-lasting in order to reduce the need for successive booster doses."
Meanwhile, European Union regulators have also expressed concern over the use of booster shots, as it may "adversely affect the immune response," Bloomberg reported. Regulators with the European Medicines Agency argued that a COVID booster shot taken every fourth month will eventually "weaken the immune response and tire out people."
Instead, EU regulators recommended to "leave more time between booster programs" and consider the onset of the cold season in each hemisphere. It also suggested following the blueprint established by the influenza vaccination strategies.
These concerns from the WHO and EU come as some countries launch programs requiring a third booster shot for people to be considered "fully vaccinated." According to the Gateway Pundit, the "huge admission" from European officials come as "a few unlucky Israelis" are getting more of their booster shots.
Another Gateway Pundit report said that even "Pfizer's CEO downplayed a fourth dose" last week. Forbes reported that Chile is one of the first countries to offer a fourth COVID shot to high risk members of the population. But for Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, he "[doesn't] know if there's a need" for a fourth booster and that it is still "something that needs to be tested."
During a J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Bourla argued that it may make more sense to administer an updated COVID vaccine that addresses new variants instead of the fourth shot of the company's original formulation of the COVID vaccine that was released in December 2020.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel appeared to be on the same page, remarking that initial booster shots are "not going to hold great" and like their previous shots, their effectiveness also wanes over time.
Meanwhile in the U.S, West Virginia became the first state to apply for permission from the federal government to begin administering extra booster doses. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Rochelle Walensky however warned that the agency is still monitoring data regarding fourth COVID vaccine shots, saying that the "strategy has to be to maximize the protection of the tens of millions of people who continue to be eligible for a third shot before we start thinking about what a fourth shot would look like."