The European Union drug regulator Monday (4/10) gave support for booster injections or booster for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, for those aged 18 years and over.
European Medicines Agency (EMA) said this booster dose “may be considered at least six months after the second dose, for persons aged 18 years and over.”
The Committee on Human Medicines at the EMA issued the recommendations after studying Pfizer vaccine data showing increased antibody levels after a booster or booster injection about six months after the second dose, in people aged 18 – 55 years.
The EMA also says it supports giving a third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine to people who have very weak immune systems, at least 28 days after the second shot.
The EMA said the decision came after research showed that extra doses of the vaccine would increase people’s ability to produce antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 in organ transplant patients with weakened immune systems.
“While there is no direct evidence yet that the antibody-producing ability in these patients will protect them against COVID-19, the extra dose is expected to increase protection, at least in some patients,” the EMA added.
The EMA recommendations will be communicated to the authorities in all 27 EU member states. Some of them have even started giving this booster injection.
Numerous studies have shown that Pfizer-BioNTeach and Moderna vaccines remain highly protective, even months after people have been vaccinated with a second dose, and dramatically reduce the risk of hospitalization and death.
WHO Urges Rich Countries To Postpone Booster Giving This Year
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has urged rich countries not to use booster vaccines this year, saying there is no scientific data to prove the urgency of the injections. He added that the COVID-19 vaccine would be more beneficial for developing countries, where there are still many people who have not even been vaccinated with the first dose.
The U.S. government last month launched a campaign offering Pfizer-BioNTech’s booster COVID-19 vaccine to millions of citizens, even as federal health officials stressed that the main problem to be solved was giving the first dose of vaccine to those who were still not vaccinated.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed at least 4.8 million people worldwide. [em/lt]