The European Medicines Agency (EMA) considered this Wednesday that vaccination against COVID 19 can be administered “once a year” and warned that the virus “still represents a significant burden” for health systems in Europe, especially for the low rate of reinforcements in vulnerable groups.
The agency “will continue to monitor emerging data over the coming months to determine the most appropriate criteria for vaccine composition” that will be used in the future against COVID-19, explained today at a press conference the head of Vaccination Strategy of the EMA, Marco Cavaleri.
“Although it is true that the virus does not yet behave as an endemic seasonal respiratory virus, like other endemic coronaviruses, we expect vaccination campaigns to take place mainly once a year. The best time for this will be the beginning of the cold season, when other vaccines for respiratory viruses are administered.“, he pointed.
At this time, the epidemiological situation “is constantly improving” and the data shows a drop in new infections, hospitalizations and deaths, with “the lowest levels observed in the European Union (EU) in the last 12 months”, he admitted.
“But COVID-19 still places a significant burden on health systems in the EU. In this context, the low numbers of administration of booster doses in vulnerable groups, such as people over 65 years of age, is a concern from a public health perspective (…) It is important not to let our guard down while the virus continues to evolve“, lament cavaleri.
In his opinion, it is “reasonable“start thinking about”the direction of the influenza paradigm, notwithstanding the uncertainties we have at this time” on the behavior of the virus, and taking into account that “repeat vaccination may not be accepted in the general population, so it would be better to consider scheduling the vaccine once a year, or perhaps synchronizing it with other respiratory viruses”.
The EU already has vaccines for COVID-19 developed by a total of eight pharmaceutical companies (Pfizer, Valneva, Novavax, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen and Sanofi Pasteur), although the EMA It also keeps under continuous review the data from three other vaccines: the Spanish Hipra, the Russian Sputnik, and the Chinese Vero Cell.
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