Covid-19 booster shots not urgently needed, EMA says
It is not urgent to give fully vaccinated people a booster against the coronavirus in general, said the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Though extra doses should be considered for people with severely weakened immune systems. The EMA relied on a technical report issued by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
All approved vaccines currently protect very well against serious illness, hospital admission and death from the coronavirus, the EMA said again. But about one in three adults is not yet fully vaccinated, the organization warned. “In this situation, the priority now should be to vaccinate all those eligible individuals who have not yet completed their recommended vaccination course.” said the EMA.
The EMA also stressed the importance of “physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene, and using face masks.” This was especially true, it said, for places at high-risk of infection or where people are at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms of Covid-19.
“It is important to distinguish between booster doses for people with normal immune systems and additional doses for those with weakened immune systems,” the organization stated. Organ transplant recipients and other immunocompromised individuals can potentially benefit from an extra vaccine dose if their initial response to vaccination was low. “In such cases, the option of administering an additional dose should be considered already now. Consideration could also be given to providing an additional dose, as a precautionary measure, to older frail individuals, in particular those living in closed settings such as residents of long-term care facilities.”
The EMA is still reviewing the data on additional doses. In the meantime, Member States can make preparations for the administration for boosters.
Dutch health service GGD said it is ready to start administrating booster shots once the government gives the go-ahead. The Dutch Health Council is expected to present advice on the necessity of booster shots this month.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.