The story is different from the government’s story. French health authorities recommended that a fourth dose of the Covid vaccine be given to people over 65 who are “most at risk”, on Friday. The government opened it only to those over the age of 80.
The High Authority for Health (HAS) spoke in a press release for a “second booster dose for people over 65 years of age who are at increased risk of severe disease and who wish to do so.”
There is no scientific consensus
The idea of a second booster dose, generally referred to as a “fourth dose,” has been mooted for several months, due to the emergence of an Omicron variant that is contagious and partially resistant to existing vaccines. Scientific consensus is elusive regarding the interest of expanding to the whole population, but many countries have chosen to give the possibility to those deemed most vulnerable.
It is the choice of France that announced, a few days ago, with the voice of Prime Minister Jean Castix, that the fourth dose will be given to all people over 80 years old. But this announcement came without waiting for the opinion of the High Authority of Health, which Minister of Health Olivier Veran had seized on the matter.
Six months interval
HAS does not explicitly advertise the advantages of such openness to seniors without discrimination, and is content to “take note of the government’s announcement”. But she believes that from age 65, only people “at severe risk” of Covid, or those with many chronic diseases, should get the fourth dose.
What is more, while the government opens the possibility of giving a fourth dose three months after the third, the World Health Assembly considers that this period should be extended to six months “so that the commitment of the population to vaccination is not reduced by repeated reminders. .
Preventive use of Evusheld
HAS finally insisted on the fact that it was not “appropriate” to open the fourth dose to the whole population, after its European counterpart, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) took a similar position on Thursday.
The French authorities also made other recommendations: they now see it possible to vaccinate children who have suffered from Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PIMS), the most common complication of Covid in young children. Finally, it would like to extend the use of the preventive treatment, Evusheld from AstraZeneca, to all immunocompromised patients for whom vaccination is not working well, including adolescents over 12 years of age.