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9 Dec, 2021 15:59

Regulator estimates ‘safe & effective’ period for Covid boosters

Regulator estimates ‘safe & effective’ period for Covid boosters

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said that booster Covid jabs are “safe and effective” to administer as early as three months after the first two doses have been received, as countries move to escalate vaccination rollouts.

In a press briefing on Thursday, the EMA announced that new data supports a swifter delivery of booster Covid vaccines, potentially clearing the way for EU states to ramp up administering third jabs.

However, despite giving the green light for countries to reduce the gap to three months, the EMA admitted that it would be preferable to stick to the initial time frame of six months between booster jabs and the second vaccine dose. 

The announcement comes as a number of governments in the EU – and elsewhere in the world – reimpose restrictions and expand vaccination campaigns in the face of a potential threat posed by the Omicron variant. 

Despite the concern sparked by the newly mutated variant, the EMA stated on Thursday that Omicron cases appear so far to be “mostly mild,” with investigations ongoing into the severity of the disease.

“Cases appear to be mostly mild, however we need to gather more evidence to determine whether the spectrum of disease severity caused by Omicron is different (to) that of all the variants that have been circulating so far,” the EMA’s head of biological health threats and vaccines strategy, Marco Cavaleri, said.

The World Health Organization has taken a similar stance on the new Covid variant, saying that early indications show the strain causes “mild” cases and there is no evidence to show vaccines are less effective against it.