WHO says COVID boosters needed, reversing previous call

GENEVA (AP) — An expert group convened by the World Health Organization said it "strongly supports urgent and broad access" to coronavirus vaccines, including booster doses.

The call caps a reversal from the U.N. health agency's previous insistence that booster doses weren't necessary for healthy people and contributed to vaccine inequity.

In a statement on Tuesday, WHO said its expert group concluded that immunization with authorized COVID-19 vaccines provide high levels of protection against severe disease and death amid the global circulation of the hugely contagious omicron variant.

Last year, WHO's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for a moratorium on booster doses, pleading with rich countries to donate their vaccines instead.

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