Further announcements are expected today regarding the administration of a booster dose of covid-19 vaccine to high-risk populations for infection. The National Vaccination Committee has given a positive opinion on the administration of a third dose to the immunocompromised, for whom the appointment platform opened on September 14, to people living in Elderly Care Units, over 60 years old and to health professionals. .
The announcements will be made during the standard briefing on the National Vaccination Coverage Plan against covid-19, by the President of the National Vaccination Committee, Maria Theodoridou and the Secretary General of the WHO, Mario Themistokleous.
The administration of the 3rd dose except for the immunosuppressed, which can be given 4 weeks after the completion of the basic vaccination is six to eight months after the second dose. The third dose of the vaccine will be mRNA vaccine for people who have received two doses of basic vaccine mRNA, two doses of Astra Zeneca vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Speaking to ANT1, Mr. Themistokleous said that the third installment will not be mandatory but there will be a recommendation. He added that about 10,000 appointments have already been made by people belonging to the group of immunosuppressants.
Vana Papaevangelou, member of the National Vaccination Committee and the committee of experts of the Ministry of Health for covid-19, explains to APE-MPE the reasoning of the decision for the third dose in groups of high risk population for infection.
“Scientists distinguish the third dose in immunocompromised and the elderly – over 80 – where the third dose does not appear to be a booster vaccine, but a boost to immunity, because they did not respond well to the first dose due to immunosuppression and age.”
The need to receive a third dose of vaccine also arises for those over 60 years of age, as according to scientific data the intensity of immune responses is also affected by age. ” vaccine dose, because various laboratory studies, but also epidemiological data show that the older a person is and the longer he has passed the second dose – at least 6 months – the greater the chances of catching the virus “, clarifying but that the chances are slim that he will become seriously ill and die.
There is a different approach to health professionals, says Ms. Papaevangelou to APE-MPE, emphasizing that they are a separate category. They are the ones with a history of exposure to the virus. Maintaining the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing infections in healthcare workers is crucial for transmitting the virus to the work and family environment, but also to preventing a weakening of the health system that may occur if a large number of healthcare workers become ill.
Asked by APE-MPE about the extension of the third dose to the general population, Ms. Papaevangelou said that there is still skepticism.
Commenting on the WHO’s position on the non-widespread use of booster doses in healthy people who are fully vaccinated, in order for poor countries to proceed with immunization, Ms. Papaevangelou states that the WHO is right to vaccinate populations in low-income countries “because from there “Mutations will occur, which may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine in us.”
However, the professor emphasizes that those who have passed the semester of vaccination, where according to studies the protection for infection is reduced, should be protected and adds that there is a benefit for the community as the spread of the virus, R0, is reduced.
At the same time, he emphasizes the need to observe the protection measures, but also the effectiveness of the vaccination that contributed to the milder profile of the pandemic, so as he always mentions, special emphasis is given to informing people who have not yet been vaccinated, considering that there is room to be convinced. He emphasizes that “the spread will be more effective if we persuade the unvaccinated to be vaccinated. The unvaccinated person is 10 times more likely to get the disease than the vaccinated person who has been vaccinated for 7 months”.