The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said Wednesday that it is “too early” to consider the administration of a fourth dose of mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) in the general population, although it supports their use in adults over 80 years of age. due to the increased risk of developing COVID-19 serious.
In a joint note with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), both agencies explain that they have concluded that there is insufficient data to recommend the need for the fourth dose, which in practice is considered the second booster dose , since the first two injections are part of the primary vaccination.
“Both agencies agree that a second booster can be given to adults 80 years of age and older, after reviewing data on the increased risk of severe COVID-19 in this age group and the protection afforded by a fourth dose.” , they point out
But, they believe, right now “there is no clear evidence” in the European Union (EU) that protection against serious cases of COVID-19 East “substantially declining in adults with normal immune systems aged 60 to 79 years” and therefore there is no evidence “support the immediate use of a fourth dose.”
The evidence on the effects of the fourth dose comes largely from Israel.
Officials will continue to monitor the data to determine if there is an increased risk of serious illness among those who are vaccinated and warn that “if the current epidemiological situation changes and new signals emerge, it may be necessary to consider a fourth dose in the age group” of older than 60 years.
However, for adults under the age of 60 with healthy immune systems “There is no conclusive evidence that the vaccine’s protection against serious disease is diminishing or that there is added value in a fourth dose.”so they do not recommend its administration.
The EMA and the ECDC point out that revaccination campaigns “could start in the fall” and that is when national authorities will consider the best time to administer additional doses, “possibly taking advantage of updated vaccines.”
For those who have not yet received any dose, the European agencies recall that vaccination against COVID-19 “remains the most effective way to prevent serious illness during the current pandemic, including serious illness caused by the omicron variant”and urge EU citizens to receive their primary and booster vaccinations.
As of the end of last March, 83% of adults had received their initial vaccinations and only 64% had a booster dose.