Friday, July 30, 2021

Vivienne Clarke

The HSE should begin planning for a Covid vaccine booster programme so that it can start immediately following approval from the European Medicines Agency, a professor of immunology has said.

Professor Christine Loscher was speaking on Newstalk radio about the booster campaign for the over-60s, which will go ahead in Israel this weekend for people who received their second dose five months ago.

Israel had made the decision following an increase in cases in the vulnerable cohort in recent days, she explained.

New data from Pfizer on booster shots had indicated antibody levels were increased tenfold. The company was now seeking regulatory approval from the EMA, but the data so far on the safety profile was very positive, said Prof Loscher.

While there had been suggestions that Israel was moving too fast, the country had been very progressive in its vaccination programme and the response to the booster shots would provide valuable real world data, she added.

Prof Loscher said that once there was approval from the EMA, the HSE should be ready to roll out the booster programme.

There had also been a very positive response to booster shots for the AstraZeneca vaccine with enhanced antibody immunity, she said. This was all very welcome news coming into the winter months for the vulnerable.

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