Health Minister Bent Høie and the National Institute of Public Health meet with the press today. The booster shot is expected to be a topic.
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 vaccine, to all their 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 that can change.
The question of a third dose is expected to be the subject when Health Minister Bent Høie (H) and the director of vaccines at the National Institute of Public Health, Geir Bukholm, invite a press conference this afternoon.
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.
He himself will not decide whether Norway should implement a booster vaccine and says it is the decision of the National Institute of Public Health. 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.