<h2>As more countries expand their COVID-19 vaccination programmes, WHO is reiterating its call for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September.</h2>
Delivering and administering first and second doses in countries with low vaccination rates remains WHO’s top priority, in order to achieve at least 10% coverage in every country by the end of September, 40% by the end of the year and 70% by mid-2022.
Third doses should be prioritized for the vulnerable: those most at-risk populations when there is evidence of waning immunity against severe disease and death. They are not for the fit and healthy.
For example, emerging data shows that immunocompromised people should receive a third dose if they did not respond sufficiently to their initial doses or if they are no longer producing antibodies. Such groups would be exempt from the booster moratorium.
If third doses are prioritized for those most at-risk, while global access to vaccines is increased – such as through increasing production and donating doses to COVAX – then they should not be seen as depriving others of their first doses.
The number of immunocompromised individuals globally who would potentially benefit from a third dose is very small, especially when compared to the health workers, older populations at risk who have not had their first or second vaccinations globally.
We are still finding out more about the length and strength of protection of different vaccine products across different populations and will update our recommendations as needed based on the latest evidence. We also do not know the safety of administering doses beyond the number administered in clinical trials.
But when global supplies are so limited, when the world is in a place where billions of people have not yet received any doses, we must focus on administering first and second doses.