WHO Europe backs second COVID booster jab for vulnerable

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The World Health Organization's European office on Tuesday recommended a second booster shot of a COVID vaccine for older people and vulnerable groups, as infections soar.

The call followed the EU's health and medicine agencies recommendation on Monday of a second booster shot for people over 60 years old.

"The updated interim recommendations on vaccination strategy come as cases continue to rise across the European Region," Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said in a statement.

Given the rise of infections, the health body backed "a second booster dose to moderately and severely immuno-compromised individuals aged five years and above and their close contacts."

It also said member states should "consider offering a second booster dose to specific at-risk groups, including , and ."

Meanwhile Kluge stressed that "everyone who is eligible with the recommended number of primary doses and the first booster dose must remain a priority across the European Region."

At the end of June, the WHO warned Europe was expected to see "high levels" of COVID-19 this summer, owing to the milder but more contagious subvariant BA.5, across the continent.

The summer periods of 2020 and 2021 saw an easing of cases in Europe, with infections peaking in winter.

According to WHO data, COVID cases have been rising sharply since the end of May around most of Europe.

In the WHO's European region—53 countries and regions including several in Central Asia—2,722,928 cases were recorded over the last seven days.

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