Research & Development
EU's public health agency recommends COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all adults
24 November 2021 -

The head of the European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC), the European Union's public health agency, has said that COVID-19 vaccine boosters should be considered for all adults, with priority for those above 40 years, Reuters news agency reported on Wednesday.

Andrea Ammon, said in a recorded statement: "Booster doses should be considered for all adult individuals prioritising persons above 40 years of age," noting that boosters should be administered at least six months after completing the primary vaccine schedule.

In its previous guidance issued in September 2021, alongside the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the ECDC had said there was no urgent need for the administration of booster doses to fully vaccinated individuals in the general population, but suggested that additional doses should be considered for people with weakened immune systems and could be used as a precaution for older frail individuals.

In a report published on Wednesday, the ECDC said: "Available evidence emerging from Israel and the UK shows a significant increase in protection against infection and severe disease following a booster dose in all age groups in the short term."

It advised giving boosters to all adults with priority "for those aged 40 years and over".

Ammon said that boosters will increase protection against infections caused by waning immunity and "could potentially reduce the transmission in the population and prevent additional hospitalisations and deaths".

She advised countries with low levels of vaccinations to speed up their rollouts and warned of high risks of a further spike in deaths and hospitalisations in Europe in December and January if the recommended measures were not introduced.

According to officials, the European Commission is expected to take the advice on boosters into consideration when proposing changes to the use of COVID-19 certificates later this week.

Recommendations issued by the ECDC are not binding on EU governments but are used to make health policy decisions, the BBC noted.