There’s “no urgent need” for coronavirus vaccine booster shots “based on current evidence,” the EU’s infectious disease agency said today.
“Evidence based on vaccine effectiveness and duration of protection shows that all vaccines authorised in the EU/EEA are currently highly protective against COVID-19-related hospitalisation, severe disease and death,” the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) wrote in a press statement announcing a new technical report.
The agency also highlighted that nearly one-third of adults over the age of 18 in the EU and EEA are still not fully vaccinated: “In this situation, the priority now should be to vaccinate all those eligible individuals who have not yet completed their recommended vaccination course.”
The EU announced Tuesday that 70 percent of adults are fully vaccinated.
Booster shots have become highly controversial in wealthy countries, considering most of the world has not yet received a first dose. The World Health Organization has asked wealthy countries to wait on boosters until the end of September, when it hopes 10 percent of people in all countries will be immunized.
Some countries are racing ahead anyway. The U.S. plans to give third shots to the general population, despite the fact that the government’s scientific agencies have not recommended doing so. Hungary and Israel already offer third shots to adults, and most EU countries are taking gradual steps to allow third shots for some like the elderly and those who are immunocompromised.
The ECDC also underscored it sees a difference between boosters for all and those who are immunocompromised. Additional shots “should already be considered for people with severely weakened immune systems as part of their primary vaccination, if they do not achieve an adequate level of protection from the standard primary vaccination,” it wrote. The U.K.’s independent vaccines panel took a similar line in its announcement this evening.
The WHO has also clarified that it doesn’t consider a third shot for people who are immunocompromised under its moratorium.
The ECDC added that additional doses might be given to elderly people, especially those living in care homes, “as a precautionary measure.”
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