EU medical authority denies “urgent need” for third dose of COVID vaccine

third dose of COVID, covid vaccines
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The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reports that there is no “urgent need” for a third dose of COVID vaccine, based on real-world data

According to the report published Wednesday (1 September), there is enough real-world evidence to suggest that a booster dose is not yet necessary.

The message is clear

The report says that: “there is no urgent need for the administration of booster doses of vaccines to fully vaccinated individuals in the general population.”

The US approved a third dose of Pfizer for immunocompromised people in early August. The UK has plans to roll-out a booster programme as early as September, again, targeting people with weaker immune systems.

However, a new report by the ECDC finds that a third dose of COVID vaccine is not essential – especially when people remain unvaccinated.

Are there any exceptions?

The ECDC is quick to clarify that immunocompromised individuals and older, frail people living in care homes are the exemption. The medical authority highlights the study that finds those waiting for and recovering from organ transplants are particularly at risk, suggesting that this group could genuinely benefit from a booster shot of vaccine.

Dr Jeremy R Chapman, Transplantation Editor-in-Chief, said: “These studies show that vaccine protects transplant patients and cuts mortality by about half, but sadly deaths are still much higher in transplant patients than in the vaccinated general population.

The authors of the report further said: “Providing all eligible individuals with the recommended dose regimen should remain the current priority for COVID-19 vaccination programmes.”

Another message: don’t buy vaccines other people need

The report also highlights the global disparity in vaccination. While the EU recently broke the 70% jabbed threshold, countries in the Global South remain woefully unvaccinated – as vaccine prices stay high, and stocks of the actual vaccine are largely unavailable.

There is a global shortage of the vaccine where it is most needed, which in the words of the EU medical authority “could be further worsened by the administration of booster COVID-19 vaccine doses.”

On Wednesday (4 August), the WHO asked richer countries to hold-off on buying more doses. DrTedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, said: “We need an urgent reversal from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries, to the majority going to low income countries.”


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