I’ll link to the actual review (PDF) as it’s really annoying when news blurbs put their own spin on what it really says without us being able to see for ourselves.
Some choice nuggets which explain where they’re coming from:
The limited supply of these vaccines will save the most lives if made available to people who are at appreciable risk of serious disease and have not yet received any vaccine. Even if some gain can ultimately be obtained from boosting, it will not outweigh the benefits of providing initial protection to the unvaccinated. If vaccines are deployed where they would do the most good, they could hasten the end of the pandemic by inhibiting further evolution of variants. Indeed, WHO has called for a moratorium on boosting until the benefits of primary vaccination have been made available to more people around the world.
Since the lead author is from the WHO, that is a very understandable stance. They aren’t looking at this from a US-centric point of view. I take no issue with that, but that doesn’t really speak to the unused vaccines that we have in this country that no one seems to want a first or second dose of and that appears to be unable to be shipped elsewhere. So sure, everyone gets a second dose before we start sending more doses to rich countries. Cool.
Boosting might ultimately be needed in the general population because of waning immunity to the primary vaccination or because variants expressing new antigens have evolved to the point at which immune responses to the original vaccine antigens no longer protect adequately against currently circulating viruses.
Even if humoral immunity appears to wane, reductions in neutralising antibody titre do not necessarily predict reductions in vaccine efficacy over time, and reductions in vaccine efficacy against mild disease do not necessarily predict reductions in the (typically higher) efficacy against severe disease.
That sounds a lot more like “We don’t know for sure yet, so we’re going to ask for caution.” Again, I have no issue with that statement, although it’s telling that they say:
Some of this literature involves peer-reviewed publications; however, some does not, and it is likely that some details are importantly wrong and that there has been unduly selective emphasis on particular results
“It is likely that some details are importantly wrong”? I’m certainly willing to entertain the possibility that the studies are wrong, but I’m not seeing a good reason in this review to call that “likely.” This is what leads me to believe that they started from a place of “Let’s put it in everyone’s hands before giving it to rich fuckers.” and worked backwards from there. I don’t really have a problem with that, even if I disagree with their approach.