Like Israel, Germany or the United Kingdom, France has been planning to give a third dose of the vaccine against Covid-19 to the most vulnerable population since the fall. The government is currently rejecting a recall campaign for the entire population.
Never two without three? If some people, Driven by the sewage lane installationYou have just passed the first stage of the first injection of the vaccine against COVID-19Others have already been vaccinated for eight months. For the latter, a new question arises about their immunity: will they soon have to make an appointment to receive a third dose of serum?
During a speech on July 12, Emmanuel Macron had mentioned “a recall campaign, from the beginning of the school year, for the first vaccination in January and February”. However, he did not specify whether this was for vulnerable people or the entire population.
Asked on RTL Monday 2 AugustAlan Fisher, head of the Vaccine Strategy Steering Board, in turn, recommended “since the beginning of the fall, a third dose of the vaccine, this time limited to vulnerable” and “older” people. post join Opinion issued by the Scientific Council on July 6. This advisory body has already advised “to expect booster vaccination now for people over 80 years of age. Resident in Ehpad or at home, as well as in immunocompromised patients in general.”
‘Immune boosting’ for vulnerable people
“With some vaccines, regular boosters are necessary because our immunity weakens over time. That is why, for example, we should be vaccinated against influenza every year,” recalls France 24, Danielle Florett, vaccine specialist and deputy head of the vaccination technical committee at Haute Autorité de Santé, in an interview with France 24.
“But right now, we lack the data to determine how long vaccines will protect against Covid-19,” he continues. Today, what we are sure of is that a third injection will result in a boost in immunity. But is this immediately useful? Nothing allows us to confirm that.”
“On the other hand, in the case of immunosuppressed people, for example, those with cancer or transplant recipients, several studies have shown that the lifespan of antibodies developed after vaccination was short,” continues Daniel Florett.
German study It was published at the end of July in the scientific journal “The Lancet”.and thus highlighted that the subjects who underwent a kidney transplant, and were fully vaccinated, had their antibody level more than two times lower than the control group, who were also vaccinated. The same observation was made in another studyPerformed on 20 patients undergoing immunosuppressive therapy.
“For these very vulnerable people, this immune boost can be justified,” Daniel Florett believes. “And in this kind of case, too, France has already recommended a third dose.” In France, some immunocompromised people have already received two doses plus a booster dose.
In the case of the elderly, A study published in “Clinical Infectious Disease” in April In the same way, it shows a sharp decrease in immunity after a few weeks in a group of people over 80 years of age who have been vaccinated, in contrast to a younger group. “The strategy of boosting with a third dose of mRNA in this population appears to be justified,” states the scientific council.
The example of Israel has been closely examined
Especially based on these studies, several countries have already announced the launch of a recall campaign for vulnerable groups. In Hungary, a third dose can therefore be given since 1 August. Germany She announced that she would be presenting it from 1 September. Across the channel, the UK will open access to a recall from September 6.
Currently, only Israel, where 62% of the population is fully vaccinated, Already passed the course. Since August 1, all persons over 60 years of age who were vaccinated “before February” have been invited to receive a third dose. “Vaccines protect against deaths just like the flu vaccine, which must be repeated occasionally,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett pleaded.
A third dose for the whole population?
On the other hand, health authorities cannot generalize this third dose to the entire population. “For the youngest of them, we have to see what the data will be on the continuum of immunity. At the moment, what we have today is very good,” confirmed, on Monday, Alan Fisher.
For its part, Pfizer/BioNtech is claiming a third dose. In a press release published Thursday, July 8thThe company explained that giving a booster dose six months after the second dose would generate levels of antibodies “five to 10 times higher” than those seen after just two injections.
The group explained that “even if protection against severe cases of the disease remains high for six months, a decrease in its effectiveness against symptomatic cases is expected over time and the emergence of variables.”
And it is indeed the variants, particularly delta, which are considered to be more contagious, It can change the game. The emergence of variants adds a lot of complexity. But for now, a third dose for the entire population will remain a premature decision,” Judge Daniel Florett.
Another sign could prompt the government to change its mind: the spread of the epidemic among vaccinated people. However, at the moment, according to DREES, the statistical service of social ministries, for the period from May 31 to July 11, unvaccinated people Actress 85 % of patients in hospital in France. In addition, 78% of deaths from the virus were among unvaccinated people and 11% of those who received a single dose of the vaccine.
‘Not a priority’
Other scientists, for their part, argue the need to continue to vaccinate the population on a large scale to achieve herd immunity before an additional dose is considered. “This is not really a priority,” said epidemiologist Catherine Hill of France 24.
“Right now, we still have a large part of the population that has not been vaccinated while we are facing a significant wave of infections, in particular In the West Indies. The real priority is to improve the vaccination coverage of the population.”
A finding shared by the World Health Organization, which fears this will further reinforce inequality in access to vaccines, while Kovacs Skate Program. “The priority should be to vaccinate those who have not received any dose and protection,” pleaded Didier Hussain, head of the organization’s emergency committee.
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