It is not clear whether people already vaccinated against the Covid-19 will have to receive a booster shot next year, but what seems certain is that European contracts now under negotiation will require any new vaccines to be adapted to COVID-19 variants, says Dirk Ramaekers, Flemish head of the Vaccination Task Force.
“We can be clear on this point: there is no clarity on the third jab,” Ramaekers said on Saturday at a Task Force press conference. However, like other European countries, Belgium is preparing for a potential third dose and indications are that this will occur, either for specific vulnerable target groups or for everyone. Members of the working group hope to obtain more clarity on this issue by Autumn.
In any event, this should not pose a problem in terms of the supply of vaccines since many of these will be delivered from September.
Professor Pierre Van Damme, for his part, stressed the need to be precise on the issue of the third dose. “We need to be clear on what we mean by a third dose,” he argued. “Is it the same vaccine as the current one or a third dose with a composition adapted to the variants?”
Responding to the epidemiologist, Mr. Ramaekers explained that “the contracts that are being negotiated at the European level, or which are being extended, will need to include adjustments to the variants.”
“From the end of this year or early next year, in principle, all vaccines to be used for a third dose will need to be adapted to the variants,” the Task Force official said. “It also seems that the companies will be able to do so.”