COVID19: EU backs fourth dose for over 60s

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The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommend that people aged 60 to 79 get a second COVID-19 booster jab.

According to the EU agencies, amid increasing rates of Covid-19 and hospital admissions, countries should consider an early second booster roll-out for protecting people over 60.

Cyprus already offers a second booster jab to those aged 60 and over.

“An early second booster roll-out should be considered not only for the population aged 80 and above but also for adults between the ages of 60 and 79 and medically vulnerable individuals regardless of age to prevent severe disease and safeguard health system capacity,” ECDC and EMA said.

In April, they recommended people over 80 can receive a second booster dose of mRNA vaccines.

The two agencies highlighted that as a new Covid-19 wave is currently unfolding in Europe, it is important that public health authorities now consider these groups for a second booster.

“Countries should consider a rapid deployment of second booster doses with currently available vaccines.

“These could be administered at least four months after the previous one, with a focus on people who received a previous booster more than six months ago.”

Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for Health, said that the “COVID-19 vaccines work” and offer good levels of protection against severe illness and hospitalisation.

“With cases and hospitalisations 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.”

Wider population

According to ECDC and EMA, at the moment, there is no clear epidemiological evidence to support administrating a second booster dose in immunocompetent individuals below 60 unless they have medical vulnerabilities.

They said that their recommendation is based on the assessment of current epidemiological trends and available scientific evidence, which is subject to change as more data becomes available.