Europe Endorses 4th mRNA Vaccination For Seniors
As a new wave of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus variants dominates Europe, with increasing rates of hospital admissions, health agencies are endorsing a new round of COVID-19 vaccinations.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended today that second booster doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines be considered for people between 60 and 79 years old.
And for people with medical conditions putting them at high risk of severe disease.
Earlier in 2022, both agencies recommended that people over 80 years of age be considered for a second booster following the two-dose primary series of the Comirnaty and SpikeVax vaccines.
However, the EMA stated on July 11, 2022, ‘At the moment, there is no clear evidence to support giving a second booster dose to people below 60 years of age who are not at higher risk of severe disease.’
Stella Kyriakides, the EC for Health and Food Safety, said in a related press release, ‘Our COVID-19 vaccines work and offer good levels of protection against severe illness and hospitalization.’
‘With cases and hospitalizations rising again as we enter the summer period, I urge everybody to get vaccinated and boosted as quickly as possible. There is no time to lose.’
‘I call on the Member States to roll out second boosters for everyone over 60 and all vulnerable persons immediately and urge everyone eligible to come forth and get vaccinated.’
‘This is how we protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our vulnerable populations.’
Across Europe, National Immunisation Technical Advisory Groups make national decisions on who should get second boosters, considering the situation in their countries.
The ECDC reported on June 30, 2022, that only 3.2% of Europeans had received the 4th dose.
‘We are currently seeing increasing COVID-19 case notification rates and an increasing trend in hospital and ICU admissions and occupancy in several countries mainly driven by the BA 5 sublineage of Omicron,’ added Dr. Andrea Ammon, the Director of ECDC.
‘This signals the start of a new, widespread COVID-19 wave across the European Union. Unfortunately, there are still too many individuals at risk of severe COVID-19 infection whom we need to protect as soon as possible.’
The latest ECDC / EMA advice comes amid work to adapt vaccines for the Omicron variants of concern.
‘We are working towards possible approvals of adapted vaccines in September 2022,’ stated EMA’s Executive Director, Emer Cooke, noting that ‘our human medicines committee is currently reviewing data for two adapted vaccines.’
‘In the meantime, it is important to consider using currently authorized vaccines as second boosters in most vulnerable people.’
Further details about the latest advice on second booster doses are available in the ECDC/EMA joint statement.
Note: In the USA, the U.S. CDC reported on July 6, 2022, that 34.4% of seniors (65+) had received a second booster (4th) dose.
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