WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- New advice from the World Health Organization says healthy children and teens may not need additional COVID-19 shots, though they may need to catch up on other routine vaccines.
"The public health impact of vaccinating healthy children and adolescents is comparatively much lower than the established benefits of traditional essential vaccines for children -- such as the rotavirus, measles, and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines," the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) said Tuesday in a news release.
Instead, COVID-19 vaccines should go to high-risk people.
"Updated to reflect that much of the population is either vaccinated or previously infected with COVID-19, or both, the revised roadmap reemphasizes the importance of vaccinating those still at-risk of severe disease," said SAGE Chair Hanna Nohynek, M.D.
So, SAGE now recommends additional booster doses for older people, immunocompromised people of all ages, frontline health workers, and pregnant people six or 12 months after their last booster dose. Those are included in the high-priority group.
In the middle are children and adolescents who have health risks, as well as healthy adults younger than 60 years. SAGE now recommends they receive primary vaccines and first boosters. It does not recommend additional boosters. Countries should consider disease burden and cost-effectiveness when deciding whether to vaccinate healthy children aged 6 months to 17 years old.