People with certain immune deficiencies should be issued for extra doses of vaccine, and the preparations to start with booster jabs should be continued, recommends the state committee of immunoprophylactic experts after the meeting in the Ministry of Social Affairs.
The expert committee recommends to give extra doses of vaccine against COVID-19 for people with certain immune deficiencies as a part of their primary vaccination plan, issued by the doctor.
By the decision of the committee, an extra dose of the vaccine is given to people who have been diagnosed with HIV, who are in active immune-suppressive treatment against tumours, and people who've had organs or bone marrow transplants.
Dr Krista Ress, the member of this committee, and the manager of the allergy and immunology centre of the East Tallinn Central Hospital, said that people with certain immune deficiencies have a higher risk to get infected with COVID-19 . They have also more serious side effects and a longer healing process. “At the same time, the traditional vaccination procedure for them might not be giving them the same level of protection as it does for people with a healthy immune system. It's because their immune system's ability to adapt and produce antibodies might be disrupted,” explained Ress. “Therefore, the risk assessment including their diagnosis and influence of medicines taken must be done about each patient separately, and after that comes the decision for the third dose.”
The extra dose can be given not sooner than 28 days after the second dose, emphasizes committee, and with a one-dose vaccine, the second dose may be given not sooner than 28 days after the first dose. Because the third dose is not indicated by the vaccine providers, so it's an off-label activity, it's important to inform patients about it and make sure that they agree with the extra dose.
It's recommended by the committee that for people with immune deficiencies mRNA (Pfizer/BioNTech või Moderna) vaccines are used. If the vaccination is done with one vaccine, it's highly recommended to use the same one also for the extra dose.
The committee of experts is keeping a close eye on the need for booster jabs, and recommends continuing preparations to do them, so when the need appears, everything is ready to start with them immediately.
With those third doses, it's important to differentiate booster jabs and extra doses. Extra doses are for people with serious immune deficiencies, and the protection after two (or one with Janssen vaccine) is not strong enough.
Booster jabs might be necessary for all fully vaccinated people after a certain period of time, because of the weakened immunity.
The objectives of COVID-19 vaccination are to protect COVID-19 risk groups, to prevent and reduce COVID-19 related illness and death. Vaccination can reduce the spread of the virus, the burden on the health system and the economy, and ensure the normal functioning of society.
More information about the opportunities to get vaccinated is available on our website www.vaktsineeri.ee and via state helpline 1247.
The state committee of immunoprophylaxis experts works under the Ministry of Social Affairs, and it gives advice about immunization strategies and other immunization-related topics. The committee consists of allergists, immunologists, infectionists, family doctors, paediatricians, nurses, and specialists from the health board, the agency of medicines, national health insurance, and the ministry of social affairs.
The source: The Ministry of Social Affairs