Europeans should take any Covid booster dose available, the executive director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said, days after the updated vaccines for the Omicron variant were approved.
“The approach we have taken in Europe is to have a plurality of options because we recognize that the needs in different member states may be different,” Emer Cook told Reuters.
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Member countries may start their new round of vaccinations at different times, or combine Covid vaccinations with flu shots.
Some may have the opportunity to choose their booster dose, she said, “but really a lot depends on what’s available where you are.”
“My message is to have confidence in whatever vaccines are offered to you,” Cook said.
Two types of vaccines
The EMA has given the green light to booster doses from Pfizer and Moderna targeting Omicron’s BA.1 strain, along with the original pandemic virus, as well as booster doses from Pfizer targeting the newer BA.4 and BA.5 strains. , which prevail today in Greece and most European countries.
Human clinical study data for BA.4 and BA.5 vaccines are not yet available, however results of small trials for BA.1 vaccines show higher levels of neutralizing antibodies against Omicron compared to first generation vaccines.
What does the vaccination committee in Greece say?
The expert committee of the Ministry of Health recommends the administration of an updated booster dose at least 3 months after the previous disease or Covid-19 infection for the following groups:
- To all people aged 60 and over
- In people aged 12-59 who belong to high risk groups (e.g. chronic respiratory or heart diseases, obesity, diabetes) according to the instructions of the attending physician.
- To residents and workers in care units for the elderly or other care units for the chronically ill
- To healthcare professionals
- In people living with immunosuppression or other underlying disease
- To caregivers of people suffering from diseases that increase the risk of complications from Covid-19
Citizens aged 30-59 can also do it
Furthermore, the possibility of vaccination with bivalent updated vaccines for a second booster or third booster dose is provided individually to people aged 30 to 59 who do not belong to the above categories with the consent of the attending physician.
The EMA had emphasized in a previous his announcement that first-generation vaccines “remain effective in preventing severe disease, hospitalization and death associated with Omicton and will continue to be used in vaccination campaigns in the EU, especially for primary vaccination”.
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