EU authorities say there’s “no urgent need” for Covid booster shots
However, additional vaccine doses should now be considered for those with severely weakened immune systems.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have said there is "no urgent need" for booster Covid-19 vaccine doses to be administered to fully vaccinated individuals in the general population.
In a joint statement, the two European health agencies said that evidence on vaccine effectiveness and duration of protection shows that all vaccines authorised in the European Economic Area (EEA) are currently highly protective against Covid-19 related hospitalisation, severe disease and death.
They also state that about one out of three adults in the EEA over 18 years are still currently not fully vaccinated.
"In this situation, the priority now should be to vaccinate all those eligible individuals who have not yet completed their recommended vaccination course," their joint statement reads.
There is no urgent need for the #booster doses of #COVID19 vaccines for the fully vaccinated.
Additional doses however should already be considered for people with severely weakened immune systems.
Read more in our joint #ECDC & @EMA_News press release: https://t.co/8WFkEnlHL3
— ECDC (@ECDC_EU) September 2, 2021
However, the agencies said it is important to distinguish between booster doses for people with normal immune systems and additional doses for those with weakened immune systems.
"Some studies report that an additional vaccine dose can improve the immune response in immunocompromised individuals, such as organ transplant recipients whose initial responses to vaccination were low. In such cases, the option of administering an additional dose should be considered already now," they stated.
"Consideration could also be given to providing an additional dose, as a precautionary measure, to older frail individuals, in particular those living in closed settings such as residents of long-term care facilities."
The ECDC and EMA will continue to work together to collect and assess data that are becoming available on boosters and additional doses.
In the meantime, they have highlighted that advice on how vaccinations should be given remains the prerogative of the national immunisation technical advisory groups guiding the vaccination campaigns in each EU Member State.
"These bodies are best placed to take into account the local conditions, including the spread of the virus (especially any variants of concern), the availability of vaccines and the capacities of national health systems," their statement said.