The European Union’s drug regulator on Tuesday gave its backing to administering booster shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, also known as Spikevax, for people 18 and older.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said the booster doses “may be considered at least six months after the second dose for people aged 18 years and older.”
Earlier this month, the EMA had also concluded that a booster dose of Comirnaty (from BioNTech/Pfizer) may be considered at least six months after the second dose for people aged 18 years and older.
The agency said its decision came after studies showed that an extra dose of the vaccines increased people’s ability to produce antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19 in people whose antibody count was waning.
EMA said the use of booster jabs is safe.
However, it is up to national authorities whether they will roll out a booster programme for everyone over 18, according to the local epidemiological situation, emerging effectiveness data, and the limited safety data for the booster dose.
“The implementation of vaccination campaigns in the EU remains the prerogative of the national immunisation technical advisory groups (NITAGs) guiding the vaccination campaigns in each EU Member State.
“These bodies are best placed to take into account the local conditions, including the spread of the virus (especially any variants of concern), the availability of vaccines and the capacities of national health systems,” the EMA announcement said.
Some EU countries, including Cyprus, have already begun administering booster shots.
More than 30,000 booster jabs have been administrated on the island so far.
Cyprus has unrolled a booster shot programme for everyone aged 60 and over, health workers and people belonging to vulnerable groups, who have completed their initial vaccination scheme at least six months earlier.
People seeking a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can do so either at a walk-in centre or book an appointment online.
Walk-in centres are open between Monday and Thursday, from 8 am – 1 pm.
Authorities will also expand the rollout to cover vulnerable groups with severe chronic respiratory, cardiovascular, kidney or liver disease, severe chronic neurological disease, and diabetes.
Immunocompromised patients can get a booster shot 28 days after their second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.