COVID19: Health experts to decide who gets fourth jab

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Cyprus health authorities will decide who gets the fourth shot of a COVID-19 vaccine following evidence that immunity offered by booster jabs starts to wane after a few months.

A recent survey conducted by the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) found the efficacy of booster shots starts to fade after the second month.

Its study found that the efficacy of booster shots dropped from 91% following immunisation to 78% after two months.

Cypriot health experts have urged authorities to introduce the fourth dose, as data from state hospitals reveal the elderly and immunocompromised have been suffering.

Recent data from the Health Ministry show that almost one in five (23%) of people in hospitals with COVID19 had taken a booster shot, while deaths of older adults have been increasing in recent days.

Recent data from the Health Ministry show that almost one in five (23%) people had taken a booster shot, while deaths of elderly people have been increasing in recent days.

On Wednesday, another seven people lost their lives to COVID-19, five of whom were over 60.

February’s death toll has risen to 45, with 12 days remaining. The deadliest month of the pandemic was January 2022, with 100 deaths.

In comments to daily Phileleftheros, Dr Christos Petrou, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and ministry advisor, said scientists advising the government will convene in the next days to review data and take decisions.

Dr Petrou noted that Cyprus would have to decide as time is a factor.

He argued the US study, despite its limitations, adds to knowledge over immunity offered by booster shots to the elderly and more vulnerable groups.

“It is apparent these groups will need a fourth dose.”

The elderly and the immunocompromised were offered booster shots as early as September.

“The decision that will be taken should be based on the profile of people who received the third dose and end up in hospital.

“That is when they received a third dose and other health risk factors.”

He also cited Sweden as an example, noting that authorities “are now offering a fourth dose to people over the age of 80, without waiting for a recommendation from the European Medicines Agency.”

Asked whether a fourth shot will be made available to the general population, Petrou said that there is no evidence supporting such a move for younger and healthier adults.

“There could be a need for another round of inoculations in the coming autumn. However, this shot will be considered as an annual vaccination against COVID, rather than another booster shot”, concluded Petrou.