WHO Experts: Covid-19 Vaccines Need Updates to Protect against New Variants



Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • Covid-19 vaccine. Johannes P Christo

    Covid-19 vaccine. Johannes P Christo

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, January 11, issued a statement saying existing Covid-19 vaccines may need updates for protection against the emergence of new variants of concern, including Omicron.

    Eighteen experts from the WHO's Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-CO-VAC) said that although current vaccines have a high impact on preventing severe disease and death, they need and should be developed to prevent infection and transmission.

    Until then, the composition of current COVID-19 vaccines may need to be updated, to protect against the virus' evolution.

    Such updates need to be based on strains that are genetically and antigenically close to circulating variants, and "must have a broad, robust, and long-term response to reduce the need for successive booster doses," the statement said.

    The experts urged vaccine manufacturers to provide data on the performance of current and Omicron-specific vaccines, which will inform any decision when changes to vaccine composition may be required.

    Concerning the Omicron variant, the experts emphasized on the importance of broader global access to current vaccines.

    Read: Jakarta's Omicron Cases Surge to 498