The European Medicines Agency has recommended that a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna be given to patients with severely compromised immune systems at least 28 days after the second dose. “We expect a third dose may increase protection in at least some of these patients,” said EMA’s vaccine evaluation team leader Marco Cavaleri. In immunocompromised patients a booster dose may be considered 6 months after the second dose.
During the press conference of the European Medicines Agency on Tuesday, Marco Cavaleri, head of the vaccine evaluation team, announced that the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna can be administered to patients over 12 years of age with severely compromised immune systems, for at least 28 days after taking the second dose. “The use of the third dose is limited to severely immunocompromised patients as there is no clear evidence at this point that immunocompromised patients will benefit from taking the third dose as part of the standard vaccination series,” he explained.
“We expect that the third dose may increase protection in at least some of these patients,” Cavaleri said. He added, “EMA will be monitoring further data that will help us estimate the effectiveness of the third dose.”
The third dose for people with properly functioning immunity
The agency also emphasized that the new recommendations do not apply to adults with a properly functioning immune system. In these cases, according to the EMA, booster doses may be considered at least 6 months after the second dose. – The Committee concluded that giving an additional dose to people over 18 years of age at least 6 months after the second dose is safe and provides a significant increase in the amount of antibodies, he explained.
“It is very important to distinguish between administering the third dose to people with severely compromised immune systems and giving the general population a booster dose,” he pointed out.
The representative of the European Medicines Agency noted that the agency is aware that some EU countries have already started administering the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. – The implementation of the vaccine campaign in the European Union remains the prerogative of protecting the public health of each of the Member States – he stressed.
Main photo source: CAROLINE BREHMAN / PAP / EPA