Second booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines should be considered for people between 60 and 79 years old and those with high risk conditions, European health agencies recommended Monday. With a new wave currently underway in Europe, and increasing rates of hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) say it it is critical that public health authorities now consider people between 60 and 79 as well as vulnerable persons of any age for a second booster.
These, they say, could be administered at least four months after the previous one, with a focus on people who have received a previous booster more than 6 months ago. Currently authorised vaccines continue to be highly effective in reducing COVID-19 hospitalisations, severe disease and deaths in the context of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. While there is no clear evidence to support giving a second booster dose to people below 60 years of age who are not at higher risk severe disease, the agencies say residents at long-term care homes are likely to be at risk of severe disease and should be considered for booster doses in line with national recommendations.
ECDC and EMA have called on public health authorities across the EU to plan for additional boosters during the autumn and winter seasons for people with highest risk of severe disease, possibly combining COVID-19 vaccinations with those for influenza. They stress that it is national advisory groups that will ultimately make national decisions on who should get second boosters, taking into account the situation in their countries.