The second booster dose is open to people over 60, as well as those under 60 who are immunocompromised and who received their last dose more than three months ago.
A fourth shot… It was first the over 80s who were encouraged to receive a second booster dose on March 14 by the Ministry of Health. If they had carried out their first booster more than three months previously, they were strongly recommended to go through the vaccination box again.
As explained by the High Authority for Health in an opinion published on March 17, the effectiveness of vaccine protection diminishes over time. It is therefore to deal with this phenomenon that the authorities have decided on a new booster dose for the oldest people, given that they are the most likely to be affected by serious forms.
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According to the latest data from Public Health France dated April 24, 80-89 year olds are the age group most represented in hospitalizations for Covid-19.
‘Not necessary’ to extend 2nd booster dose
On April 7, the authorities decided to extend access to the fourth dose to those over 60 years old. “A good thing”, according to Yves Buisson, professor epidemiologist and microbiologist and president of the Covid-19 cell within the Academy of Medicine. “We must maintain good vaccination coverage among the most vulnerable people, whether because of their age or their state of health (immunodepression, comorbidities, etc.).
However, the professor does not consider it “necessary for the time being” to extend this reminder to the rest of the population when “we are entering a phase of epidemic decline and calm”.
“The idea of ensuring constant protection for people at risk is perhaps the outline of a long-term strategy to fight against the coronavirus: we know that it is a seasonal disease, it could therefore be wise, when we are no longer in the pandemic phase, to offer an annual vaccination, like that of the flu, for the most fragile”, adds Yves Buisson.
A strategy that will be refined according to him with the arrival of new vaccines today in preparation. “We do not yet know their performance, their mode of administration, etc. The medium and long-term vaccine strategy will derive from their capacities that they will have to give prolonged immunity, as well as to take into account the different types of varying,” he says.
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Moreover, as the High Authority for Health pointed out, it is necessary to avoid “reducing the adherence of the population to vaccination by too frequent reminders”. Yves Buisson believes that we “can leave people not at risk alone for the moment”.
Also, it is better to focus on people who require these booster doses and a fortiori on those who have not yet received the first two injections: 7.65% of people over 75 are still not vaccinated on 21 april.
Vaccination of children, “a missed opportunity”
Just as Professor Buisson indicates that the Covid-19 cell of the Academy of Medicine regrets that the vaccination campaign for 6-11 year olds was not ultimately so followed.
“It’s a missed opportunity, there are only very few children vaccinated. If it is true that they have relatively mild forms, they can still be affected by long Covid. The argument to say that it is rare does not hold, otherwise we would not vaccinate them against diphtheria or polio …”, considers Yves Buisson.
The professor therefore calls for “thinking about the next school year” and betting on this primary vaccination of children.