The World Health Organisation (WHO) Technical Advisory Group has warned of the need to update the composition of the current COVID-19 vaccines for continued effectiveness against Omicron and future variants.
This is contained in an interim statement from the Technical Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-CO-VAC), an 18-experts group appointed by the UN health agency.
The group stated that vaccines that had a high impact on the prevention of infection and transmission, in addition to prevention of severe disease and death, were needed and should be developed.
“Until such vaccines are available, and as the SARS-CoV-2 virus evolves, the composition of current COVID-19 vaccines may need to be updated to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide WHO-recommended levels of protection against infection and disease by VOCs, including Omicron and future variants,” the statement said.
The group will consider a change in vaccine composition to ensure doses continue to meet WHO criteria, including protection against severe disease and improving vaccine-induced protection.
The expert group encouraged COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to generate and provide data on the performance of current and Omicron-specific vaccines, which will inform any decision when changes to vaccine composition may be required.