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WHO says no evidence proves that healthy children, adolescents need COVID-19 boosters

People posing with syringe with needle in front of the displayed logo of the World Health Organization (WHO), in this illustration taken December 11, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

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January 18 (Reuters) - There is currently no evidence that healthy children and adolescents need booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine, World Health Organization chief researcher Soumya Swaminathan said on Tuesday.

At a news briefing, she said that although there appears to be some declining vaccine immunity over time against the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of coronavirus, more research needs to be done to determine who needs booster doses.

"There is no evidence right now that healthy children or heavy adolescents need boosters. No evidence at all," she said.

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Israel has begun offering boosters to children as young as 12, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this month approved the use of a third dose of Pfizer (PFE.N) and the BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 and up. to 15 years.

Last week, Germany became the latest country to recommend that all children between the ages of 12 and 17 get a COVID-19 booster shot. Hungary has done the same.

Swaminathan said the WHO's top group of experts would meet later in the week to consider the specific question of how countries should consider giving boosters to their populations.

"The goal is to protect the most vulnerable, to protect those at greatest risk of serious illness and death. It is our elderly populations, immunocompromised people with underlying conditions, but also health professionals," she said.

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Reporting by Mrinalika Roy and Manas Mishra Editing by Mark Heinrich

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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