WHO okays six-week delay for Moderna COVID-19 booster

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WORLD Health Organisation (WHO) has approved to delay the second injections of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for up to six weeks in exceptional situations.

  The situations include limited vaccine supplies, preferential vaccination of international travellers, and lack of evidence that vaccination reduces the risk of transmission.

  WHO also recommended delays for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

  Both vaccines require boosters after three to four weeks, but several countries facing limited vaccine supplies have informed that they will delay administering the booster shot so that more people can benefit from receiving the first dose.

  The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) had noted that it was best to respect the tested intervals between doses of 21 days for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 28 days for Moderna.

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  The WHO’s vaccine advisory group earlier said that in “exceptional circumstances” it was possible to wait for up to 42 days to administer the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. On Tuesday, it said the same for the Moderna vaccine.

  The spokesperson for the Group, Alejandro Cravioto, however, warned in a virtual press briefing that the evidence does not go beyond the six-week cut-off.

  Both vaccines are very similar, the experts said, except for the storage requirements. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius while Moderna doses can be stored at -20 C.

  The situations include limited vaccine supplies, preferential vaccination of international travellers, and lack of evidence that vaccination reduces the risk of transmission.

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  WHO also recommended delays for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

  Both vaccines require boosters after three to four weeks, but several countries facing limited vaccine supplies have informed that they will delay administering the booster shot so that more people can benefit from receiving the first dose.

  The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) had noted that it was best to respect the tested intervals between doses of 21 days for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 28 days for Moderna.

  The WHO’s vaccine advisory group earlier said that in “exceptional circumstances” it was possible to wait for up to 42 days to administer the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. On Tuesday, it said the same for the Moderna vaccine.

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  The spokesperson for the Group, Alejandro Cravioto, however, warned in a virtual press briefing that the evidence does not go beyond the six-week cut-off.

  Both vaccines are very similar, the experts said, except for the storage requirements. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius while Moderna doses can be stored at -20 C.

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