The European Medicine’s Agency (EMA) will be making a decision on Monday in relation to the approval of the Pfizer booster vaccine but precise guidance is unlikely to be issued on who should receive it.
If approved, the EU will be joining the United States, the UK and Israel, where Covid-19 booster vaccines have already been approved.
With no consensus among scientists that vaccine boosters are necessary, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has consistently expressed opposition towards the notion of booster vaccines, saying that additional vaccine supplies should be delivered to developing nations instead.
The EMA was not immediately available for comment. Over a dozen EU countries have already begun administering booster vaccines without official backing from the agency.
The booster vaccines are understood to be exclusively for elderly and vulnerable individuals as vaccine efficacy decreases over time.
Since elderly and vulnerable people were the first to get vaccinated, their immunity status will begin to reduce significantly by the winter, when the flu starts to circulate.
It’s feared that the combination of the flu, Covid-19 and vaccine efficacy reduction would result in a significant death rate amongst this cohort during the winter.
The EU officials who are familiar with the EMA’s decision-making processes said that next week’s decision will primarily focus on the booster’s safety and effectiveness while being broad in scope, effectively meaning that it will not indicate which age or risk groups should receive it.
IMAGE – “US authorizing Pfizer and BioNTech’s Cov” (CC BY 2.0) by wuestenigel