Statements on current and updated COVID-19 vaccines

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June 17, 2022 (WHO)- The Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-CO-VAC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), with the support if its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization, have today each issued statements on updated COVID-19 vaccines.

TAG-CO-VAC, an independent group of experts that periodically reviews the evidence and analyses the implications of emerging variants of concern (VOC) on the performance of COVID-19 vaccines, has published a statement on the composition of current COVID-19 vaccines.

To complement the TAG-CO-VAC statement, the WHO has explained the decision-making considerations for the use of variant updated COVID-19 vaccines, with the support of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization and its COVID-19 Vaccines Working Group.

In summary:

  • Both statements reiterate that current COVID-19 vaccines, which are based on the ancestral strain (or index virus) of SARS-CoV-2, continue to exhibit strong protection against severe disease and death across all virus variants seen to date.  Achieving high coverage rates with the primary series and booster doses in the highest and high priority-use groups in every country remains the priority.
  • As we look forward, continued virus evolution is expected, resulting in the emergence of new variants.
  • The TAG-CO-VAC advises that including Omicron in a modified vaccine composition and administered as a booster dose is expected to broaden immunity while retaining protection against severe disease and death. 
  • WHO emergency use listing of a vaccine product with a modified composition or its approval by a stringent regulatory authority will allow SAGE to provide policy recommendations for its use.

The full text of the statements can be accessed here:

— Interim statement on the composition of current COVID-19 vaccines
— Interim statement on decision-making considerations for the use of variant updated COVID-19 vaccines

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