Covid: a vaccine booster for the over 65s in the fall? The HAS is for

SCIENCE – In recent days, much more has been said about the monkeypox virus than about Sars-Cov2. However, the Covid-19 epidemic is far from over and the idea of ​​​​a new vaccine reminder campaign is very present.

Even if the number of daily cases is steadily falling and hospitals are no longer overwhelmed, the risk of a new wave is very clear, especially in the fall with the arrival of a colder climate. It remains to be seen what the health impact will be of a further increase in cases in a population that is widely vaccinated and already affected by the virus during the five previous waves.

Vaccination reminder for people at risk

It is precisely to prepare and not be taken aback that the High Authority for Health (HAS) has taken up the subject itself and is issuing an opinion on the matter this Wednesday, May 25. After analyzing the three scenarios envisaged by the WHO for the continuation of the Covid-19 pandemic, the HAS has developed several vaccine recommendations for the fall of 2022 in France.

In the base scenario, the most likely according to experts, the virus continues to evolve (sub-variants of Omicron like BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 continue to appear). Over time, the immunity of the French population decreases, but “remains sufficient against serious forms and death for a majority of the population”.

The risk is that a new wave of cases will eventually impose itself in the fall. To ensure that it does not cause a hospital wave, the HAS therefore recommends setting up “a vaccination reminder campaign for populations at risk”. Clear:

  • People aged 65 and over
  • People with comorbidity at risk of severe form
  • Immunocompromised people and their families

A reminder for everyone in case of a new variant

The simplest would be to couple this vaccine reminder to the flu vaccination campaign. The HAS also recommends “considering the vaccination of healthcare professionals”, but only according to future data on the effectiveness of the booster to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus (by blocking even asymptomatic forms).

Even if the HAS develops more particularly this intermediate scenario, it considers that it is “necessary to be ready to anticipate the pessimistic scenario”. In this version of the future, a new, very different variant emerges. More virulent, it escapes much more immunity and causes serious forms in vaccinated people. A possibility that should not be overlooked, as the mutations of Sars-Cov2 have surprised us in two years.

In such a scenario, it will be necessary to set up very quickly “a large-scale vaccination campaign”, aimed at offering a booster to the entire “general population with prioritization of the populations most at risk”.

Finally, in the optimistic scenario where future variants will be less severe, only a booster for immunocompromised people will be necessary, estimates the HAS. Unfortunately, given the rise of the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, which have already caused new waves in South Africa and Portugal, this scenario is far from the most likely.

See also on The HuffPost: On the continuation of the Covid, from when to worry?

Leave a Comment