Some people may need Covid-19 vaccine boosters earlier than others

In this photo from May 8, 2021, a health worker shows an empty bottle of the covid-19 vaccine in Gauhati, India.

In this photo from May 8, 2021, a health worker shows an empty bottle of the covid-19 vaccine in Gauhati, India.
photo: Anupam Nath (Associated Press)

Eventually everyone may need the Covid-19 booster vaccine, although some are faster than others — at least, these are the obvious expectations of the World Health Organization. On Thursday, Reuters reported on internal WHO documents that set out their vision for the pandemic in the near future, one of which predicted that most people may need boosters two years after the last injection. More vulnerable groups such as the elderly may need them within a year after the last injection.

According to Reuters, these forecasts will be discussed at a board meeting. Thursday Gavi is an organization and public-private partnership established in 2000 by the WHO and other parties including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to focus on providing vaccines to poorer countries in the world. During the pandemic, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, WHO, and the Alliance for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) have been responsible for the COVAX program, which aims to provide covid-19 vaccine doses in most developing countries.

According to Reuters, under the baseline scenario, WHO predicts that the general public will need boosters in the next two years to keep up with the changing coronavirus variants. For people with a weaker average immune system, such as the elderly, this need may appear within a year.

The WHO did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment on the so-called forecast. However, a Gavi spokesperson told the media that COVAX plans to consider various situations.

In fact, there are still many unanswered questions when predicting the immunization process of covid-19.Some experts from the U.S. government and vaccine manufacturers Talked about A booster may be needed in just a year.However other studies have Suggest Even the natural immunity remains in the human body for 11 months or more, and data from Pfizer’s ongoing clinical trials show Indicated People remain immune at least six months after the last vaccination. Reinfection with Breakthrough infection It is still very rare among people who are fully vaccinated.

Of course, as the coronavirus continues to evolve, there may eventually be variants capable of substantially evading the immunity provided by today’s vaccines or past infection. The immune system is a complicated machine, though, and there are many working parts to it that determine how we respond to a familiar germ. A hypothetical variant may someday be able to cause illness in over 50 percent of the vaccinated, for instance, but our immune system might still be trained enough to prevent most of us from ever getting seriously ill.

Some people are definitely more likely to benefit from boosters than others, though. On Wednesday, a study found Organ transplant recipients showed signs of stronger immunity after the third booster, including antibodies specific to the new coronavirus.On the same day, experts convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to sum up There is currently insufficient evidence to support the recommendation of boosters to the general population, but it does agree that certain groups, including the elderly or transplant recipients, may need them. They did not close the door one day to recommend them to others.

Nonetheless, the most pressing issue facing the world related to the new coronavirus is not vaccine boosters, but to provide everyone with the first dose of vaccine as soon as possible. The COVAX plan is not expected Close to its goal of distributing 2 billion doses of vaccine in 2021.Although important recent success In the development of other vaccine candidates, there are also failure Provide vaccines to the world throughout the pandemic.

As early as October 2020For example, most parts of the world have Make a call Temporarily waive patent rights to speed up vaccine production-this is a requirement of the United States and other powerful countries, including Gates Foundation, Counterattack. (As of May 2021, the United States now supports these exemptions, but there is still no sure Whether it will happen. )

Currently, only 17% of the world’s population is Partial vaccination, And it may take 2022 or more to make most parts of the world successful.

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