At a press conference today, Bent Høie said that they follow FHI’s advice. Now, all people over 65 will be offered a third dose of vaccine.
This week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended a third dose of the corona vaccine for people with severely weakened immune systems.
They also asked all European countries to consider whether they would offer a third dose, a so-called booster shot, to all their healthy citizens between the ages of 18 and 55.
In Norway, some groups of patients with weakened immune systems are already offered a third dose. It has not yet been relevant to the rest of the population.
But now Norwegians over 65 will also be offered a third dose of vaccine.
FHI calls this a refreshing dose.
– We hope that the refreshing doses will provide long-term protection, says Health Minister Bent Høie.
– It is not known how much better the protection will be with a refreshing dose. However, we have judged it likely to provide better protection for age groups for which we now recommend a refresh rate.
This was said by Vaccine Manager Geir Bukholm at FHI at Tuesday’s press conference.
The prioritization will follow previous vaccines, with priority given first to those over 85 years of age. Nursing home residents are also prioritized first. Then they come from 75 to 84 years. Finally, they are in the 65 to 74 age group.
– There is limited knowledge about this, but FHI believes that the benefit probably outweighs the risk in the elderly. This is partly due to the fact that the elderly are more exposed to serious diseases and that it is the longest time since they were fully vaccinated, Høie says.
Booster Dose Assessment for Healthcare Professionals
The NIPH is now considering whether healthcare personnel should also receive a refreshment dose.
The purpose will be to prevent the spread of the infection, says Bukholm.
– It is first of all to reduce the possibility of further infection in vulnerable people.
Health professionals under 65 are well protected with two doses, says Bukholm.
It is currently not relevant with an update dose for the rest of the population, he adds.
FHI I now recommend a booster dose for older age groupsAs long as it is approved by the EMA, they write in their recommendation on Tuesday.
The booster vaccination has not yet been approved by the EMA, but such approval is expected shortly. Write FHI.
The dose should be distributed step by step among the elderly, up to 65 years. Older people should receive it at least six months after the second dose, according to FHI.
Today, the EMA will also present its assessments on the appropriateness of giving a third dose of Pfizer to anyone over the age of 16.
This is what the booster shot does
What kind of effect does the booster shot have? When the effect of a vaccine is tested, the amount of antibodies it produces is measured. These substances need the body to break down the coronavirus.
But just as important is that it provides protection that lasts for the long term, Steinar Madsen notes. He is the medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency. So you need an immune system that remembers, the so-called immune memory. The booster shot contributes to this.
– When it comes to vaccines, a lot of attention has been paid to antibodies. But it is also important that cells that can also attack viruses have memory. If you are exposed to an infection at a later date, the immune system will remember it, says Madsen.
A study of 300 people between the ages of 18 and 55 shows that the booster dose causes the antibodies to rise rapidly. Dose three counteracts the virus better than after dose two.
Madsen will not decide himself whether Norway should implement a booster vaccine and says that it is the National Institute of Public Health that must decide. The task of the Norwegian Medicines Agency is only to approve the use of the vaccine.
– But, of course, it is comforting when you have to do these evaluations, that the EMA has approved them, says Madsen.
These European countries offer the third dose
In Europe, the booster dose issue is divided.
Some countries already offer booster doses to fully vaccinated residents.
These countries are:
- Czech Republic
It is also possible that several countries will follow suit if the EMA concludes today that it is appropriate to provide a third dose of Pfizer vaccine for anyone over 16 years of age.
Several European countries now offer a third dose only to people with weakened immune systems, the elderly and / or very vulnerable healthcare professionals. This applies to:
- The Netherlands
Ask to wait with booster doses
A total of 61 percent of the EU population is now fully vaccinated.
Only three countries have vaccinated more than 75 percent of their inhabitants. This is Iceland, Malta and Portugal.
That worries the European center for disease prevention and control (ECDC).
They say there is now a risk that the infection will increase in the future and they fear more hospitalizations and deaths in the next six weeks, he writes. Reuters.
But at the same time, more people now argue that African countries should get more doses of vaccines, before other countries offer a booster dose to their fully vaccinated inhabitants. Only six percent of Africa’s population is vaccinated.
That worries many.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is asking all countries considering booster doses to wait until a large portion of the world’s population has been vaccinated.