AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine approved for third dose in EU

AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine approved for third dose in EU
AstraZeneca's vaccine. Credit: Belga

AstraZeneca's vaccine against Covid-19 has been approved for use as a third dose in adults in the European Union, the company announced on Monday.

The vaccine was approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) following "a sufficient body of evidence" demonstrating an increased immune response after a third dose of AstraZeneca was administered.

"Healthcare professionals can now use AstraZeneca's vaccine as a third dose in patients previously given a primary vaccine schedule of either AstraZeneca or an EU-approved mRNA Covid-19 vaccine," the company said, referring to those developed by Pfizer and Moderna.

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AstraZeneca saw its sales jump in the first quarter of 2022, in part due to Covid-19-related medicines and vaccines, but said it expected sales of these drugs to fall sharply over the rest of the year as "the threat of Covid-19 recedes."

Its vaccine, developed in collaboration with Oxford University, was not chosen by the British Government for its booster campaign, despite being one of the first to be launched and the preferred vaccine for the first two doses in the UK.

AstraZeneca's vaccine has not been approved for use in the United States.

Considering a fourth dose?

The regular booster vaccination campaign in Belgium is mostly over with 75% of adults (62% of the entire population) having received three doses, but the Federal Government is already looking into possibly offering the entire population an additional booster after the summer.

Currently, people with a weakened immune system, people aged 80 and over, and residents of care homes (regardless of age) are being offered a second booster vaccine, if they received their first booster at least four months ago.

At the Consultative Committee on Friday, the authorities decided that the Interministerial Conference (IMC) for Public Health would look into whether and how an additional booster shot can provide better protection against a possible new wave.

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