EMA gives full approval for Pfizer Covid boosters; Partial green light for Moderna
People with a serious immune disorder can receive an extra shot of the Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, the European Medicines Agency determined on Monday. The vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech may also be used as a booster shot for the general public, including adults without health problems, if governments decide it is necessary. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) is monitoring this on behalf of the Netherlands.
The EMA recommended administering the additional shot at least six months after the second shot. It is possible that the immune system against the coronavirus will weaken slightly by then. The EMA did not reject the use of the Moderna vaccine as a booster shot for the general public, but the regulator needs additional data to make a decision.
The EMA previously said it is not necessary to re-vaccinate everyone who has already been fully vaccinated. Vaccines protect the vast majority of people well enough. They may not prevent every infection, but they do prevent many hospitalizations and deaths. The Dutch Health Council also stated that. According to the advisory body, it is currently more important to vaccinate people who have not yet been vaccinated. This does not only concern people in the Netherlands, but also people where the vaccination rate is extremely low, like in parts of Africa. If more people get an injection there, the odds of a new variant developing will decrease.
The Netherlands will start giving the additional shots to people with a severe immune disorder later this week. Some of those receiving the shot are people who have just had an organ transplant. Upon receiving their first injections, they may not have produced enough antibodies against the coronavirus. The extra shot is meant to help them with that. According to the EMA, this additional injection must be given at least 28 days after the second shot.
It involves several hundred thousand people living in the Netherlands, and it will probably take a little less than a month to give an extra shot to those with immune disorders who want one. Those people with immune disorders are already given the Comirnaty vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech or Spikevax from Moderna as their primary vaccine.
Reporting by ANP