The European Medicines Agency (EMA) har reportedly announced that healthy individuals, particularly adults, now have the go-ahead to get a third, booster shot of the BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine over six months following their second dose.
According to reports, the medicines committee of EU’s drug regulator stated that the new recommendation was made on the basis of data obtained from a clinical study of 18 to 55-year-olds that showed a rise in antibodies after a third injection.
As per data collected from a number of studies, immunity obtained from vaccines that are currently in use wanes, and appears to drop more rapidly in case of the BioNTech/Pfizer shot.
The EMA further stated that patients with severely compromised immune systems may receive a booster shot of either the Moderna or BioNTech/Pfizer vaccines merely 28 days after their second dosage.
While there is no clear proof correlating antibody levels to increased protection in people with weaker immune systems, the EMA stated that the additional dosage will at least improve protection in some of the recipients.
Jumping the gun on EMA's new decision, many EU nations have already started providing booster dosages to patients with compromised immune systems as a result of medicine or sickness. However, fewer nations, such as Hungary, have already started administering boosters to all adults.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has advised boosters only for individuals 65 and older, individuals at a high risk of severe COVID-19, and individual’s whose jobs elevate the risk of complications, while still holding off on recommending a third dose to all adults.
The EU authority, in its announcement, warned that the risk of developing inflammatory heart problems; seen following the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, or other extremely uncommon adverse effects after a booster has not yet been established and is being closely watched.
For EU politicians that are facing immense pressure from the public to green-light boosters ahead of the forthcoming winter, having the full support of the European Medicines Agency, recognized for the high standard of its scientific studies, will be a welcome comfort.