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French health chiefs recommend 3rd dose of Moderna, Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines for people with weakened immune systems

French health chiefs recommend 3rd dose of Moderna, Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines for people with weakened immune systems
People with weakened immune systems should receive three doses of the two main Covid-19 vaccines being used in France made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the country’s top health officials have recommended.

“The injection of a third dose of mRNA vaccine is necessary for severely immunocompromised people,” the Directorate General of Health (DGS) said in a note sent out to health professionals on Sunday.

This includes people who have undergone organ transplants or recent bone marrow transplants, as well as dialysis patients and those with autoimmune diseases who are under strong immunosuppressive treatments, BFMTV reported.

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The third dose must be administered four weeks after the second, or “as soon as possible” for people who have already exceeded this period, the DGS said.

Cancer patients, people with chronic kidney disease who aren’t on dialysis, and patients with autoimmune diseases who don’t take Anti-CD20 or antimetabolite drugs are not included in the new advisory, the DGS said.  

The agency also said it would make further vaccine recommendations. 

The DGS’s decision is in response to an opinion published on April 6 by the government’s vaccine advisory council, which recommended a third dose for immunocompromised people.

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Last month, a US study of 436 organ transplant recipients who took either the Moderna or Pfizer jabs showed that just 17% developed neutralizing antibodies within 20 days of vaccination.

The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that immunocompromised people’s immune response contrasts to the nearly 100% antibody development among the general population by the 20th day after vaccination. 

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