EU Authorities Say No Urgent Need For Covid Booster Shots
(Bloomberg) -- European Union health authorities said there’s no urgent need for widespread use of Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, though people with weakened immune systems should be offered a third dose.
The priority now should be to vaccinate the roughly one-third of Europe’s adults who aren’t fully inoculated, the European Medicines Agency said on Thursday, citing a report by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. Older and frail people, particularly those in care homes, could also be given an extra dose, the agency said.
The EMA’s statement is in line with guidance issued this week in the U.K., which is so far focusing its booster shot efforts on those whose immune systems aren’t able to react strongly to the first two doses, such as organ-transplant recipients.
More contentious is the question of whether to give a top-up to healthy, fully-vaccinated people, potentially to ward off the more contagious delta variant. That’s something the Biden administration has sought in the U.S., even as some public health experts warn that reaching the unvaccinated should remain a higher priority.
Countries should hold off on widespread use of boosters until at least next month, though some at-risk people may need third doses, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Berlin on Wednesday.
The EMA said it will keep looking at the data on booster shots. While that review continues, EU countries may begin making plans for administering additional doses -- and have the prerogative to make their own decisions whether and how broadly to use them, the agency said.
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