The head of Strategy for Biological Health Threats and Vaccines of the European Medicines Agency (EMA, for its acronym in English), Marco Cavalieri, has expressed his doubts about the need to give booster doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 “continually” in fear of “oversaturating the immune system with repeated vaccinations.”
At a press conference on Tuesday, this representative of the European regulatory body pointed out that they are observing with “concern” a vaccination strategy that involves vaccinating every three or four months, with the exception of the immunosuppressed.
“We must be careful not to oversaturate the immune system with repeated vaccinations,” he warned, noting that there is also the risk of generating “fatigue” among the population. “We have not yet seen data regarding a fourth dose, and we would like to see this data before we can make any recommendations, but at the same time, we are quite concerned about a strategy that involves repeated vaccination in the short term,” he explained. .
Although he understands that a third dose has been administered “due to the current epidemiological situation,” Cavalieri has pointed out that the vaccination cannot be repeated “continuously.” “It would be better to start thinking about booster doses more spaced in time that are synchronized with winter, as is done with the flu,” he proposed.
“COVID still can’t be treated like the flu”
On the other hand, Cavalieri has ruled out that for now COVID-19 can be treated like the flu. “It is moving towards an epidemic, although it has not yet reached this status. With the omicron there will be more natural immunity, in addition to vaccination, so that it will advance more quickly towards an epidemic scenario,” he stressed.
In this sense, he recalled that omicron is “very contagious, so the number of infected people is high.” “It is important to be aware of its potential burden and not dismiss it as a mild disease,” he insisted.
In any case, he has reassured saying that current vaccines “provide high protection against serious illness and hospitalizations related to omicron.” “Data from South Africa show that people who received 2 doses have up to 70 percent protection. Data from the UK shows that, although protection decreases a few months after vaccination, it increases again to 90 percent after of the booster dose “, has riveted.