Less than 50% of people over 60 “made the second reminder”, “we have to correct it”, estimates the HAS

As France faces the eighth wave of Covid-19, “less than 50%” people over 60 years old “they did their second encore”, has This was stated to franceinfo on Monday 3 October by Elisabeth Bouvet, president of the Technical Commission for vaccinations of the High Health Authority. “We have to fix it”, she added.

>>> Covid-19: interested public, conditions of access … What you need to know about the new vaccination campaign that starts on Monday

A new vaccination campaign against Covid-19 with vaccines begins this Monday “bivalent” suitable for Omicron variants. With the confirmation of the resumption of the epidemic in France, the over 60s, vulnerable people and caregivers are called to receive a new dose of the vaccine, or 17 million people. An expansion of the public is not foreseen for the moment.

franceinfo: qWhat percentage of eligible French people have not yet sent this reminder?

Elizabeth Bouvet: We are only less than 50% who sent the second reminder. Not much has changed in the past few weeks. So obviously this needs to be corrected as there is currently a new epidemic wave. People are further and further away from their last recall, the risk factors and vulnerability to Covid-19 still affect the same people, it is really time to carry out a new booster with appropriate vaccines.

When should you get vaccinated?

It has been a general rule from the beginning, it is best not to get vaccinated immediately after Covid-19 because it may not be as effective as it could be. And what’s more, it is not necessary since we are protected immediately after Covid-19. It is recommended to wait three months before giving an injection.

For those who have taken the full vaccination course, is this the fifth injection?

This will be the fifth injection. I don’t know if we should continue talking about boosters, but rather about additional doses. It is possible that it will come to something normal for frail people, that is, regularly give a booster injection periodically to increase immunity against the viruses that are circulating.

Are you going to extend this additional dose to everyone?

Not for the moment, because the virus that circulates is the same, the fragile people are the same and what is really important is to protect the fragile people. It is not a question of vaccinating the general population which has no risks, which obviously can become infected, but which will not develop serious forms. And so, for the moment, the recommendations and the strategy are to protect the vulnerable.

These vaccines are bivalent, i.e. effective against the traditional strain and its Omicron variant. What changes?

Indeed, these new vaccines contain messenger RNA from the Omicron strain and lead to the production of a higher level of antibodies against the Omicron strain. We can hope for even more protection and longer durability. For the moment we cannot know the duration of this protection, but we can hope that it is more important as the immunity it provides is superior to the original vaccine.

Antoine Flahault, who heads the University of Geneva’s Institute of Global Health, says health authorities approved these vaccines too quickly, without the laboratories providing human studies. It’s correct?

Among the three, there is one that has been tested on humans, but not in large quantities. Of course, there was no evidence as there was initial evidence with vaccines that were first used because they are the same vaccines. It is exactly the same vaccine except it is adapted. It is not necessary to run many tests to verify that they are well tolerated. Manufacturers have very quickly made a BA5 vaccine, namely against the latest strains of Omicron that are circulating. If these vaccines are to be effective, they must be used when the virus is circulating. If we wait to carry out trials with large numbers of people to show that they will reduce the risk of infection, we will probably need to make available a vaccine that will no longer be suitable for the strain.

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