European Union regulators have warned that frequent Covid-19 booster shots could adversely affect the immune system and may not be feasible.
According to the European Medicines Agency, repeat booster doses every four months could eventually weaken the immune response and tire out people, reported Bloomberg.
Instead, the booster programs should be tied to the onset of the cold season in each hemisphere, following the blueprint set out by influenza vaccination strategies, the agency said.
The agency gave this advice as some countries consider the possibility of offering people second booster shots in a bid to provide further protection against surging omicron infections.
Israel became the first nation to start administering a second booster, or fourth shot, to those over 60, earlier this month. On the other hand, the U.K. has said that though boosters are providing good levels of protection, there is no need for a second booster shot at the moment and will review data as it evolves.
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Boosters “can be done once, or maybe twice, but it’s not something that we can think should be repeated constantly,” Marco Cavaleri, the EMA head of biological health threats and vaccines strategy, said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
“We need to think about how we can transition from the current pandemic setting to a more endemic setting.”
At the briefing, the EU regulator also said that oral and intravenous antivirals, such as Paxlovid and Remdesivir, maintain their efficacy against omicron.
The agency said that a new vaccine targeting a specific variant, will be approved by the month of April, as the process takes about three to four months. Some of the world’s largest vaccine-makers have said they are looking at producing vaccines that could target new variants.
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Booster shots to extend the protection of COVID-19 vaccines may be unnecessary for many people, a leading scientist behind the AstraZeneca vaccine branded as Covishield in India.
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