FACTBOX-Countries weigh need for booster COVID-19 shots

by Reuters
Thursday, 25 November 2021 13:17 GMT

(Updates with France, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, ECDC, Egypt, Ecuador, Johnson & Johnson)

By Reuters Staff

Nov 25 (Reuters) - Many countries are rolling out COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, but there is no consensus among scientists that they are necessary and the World Health Organization wants the most vulnerable people worldwide to be fully vaccinated first.

Here are some of the options countries and regions are considering:

NORTH AMERICA

U.S. regulators on Nov. 19 expanded eligibility for booster shots to all fully-vaccinated adults.

Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization is recommending booster shots of an authorized mRNA vaccine to those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

EUROPE

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), on Nov. 24 recommended vaccine boosters for all adults, with priority for those over 40. Previously it had suggested the extra doses should be considered for frail older people and those with weakened immune systems.

The European Commission proposed that from Jan. 10 next year the EU's COVID-19 vaccination certificates be valid for nine months after full vaccination, and also opened the way for boosters to be linked to such passes.

Recent contracts with Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have included the potential for the bloc to buy booster shots.

These European countries are offering boosters to adults after they receive a full dose of a vaccine:

** Austria; Britain (all over 40s and others most at risk of developing COVID-19); Czech Republic; France (roll-out to start as of Nov. 26); Germany (all over-18s); Hungary; Italy (so far for over 40s, will be made available to all over 18s); Malta (all over-12s); Norway; Poland; Russia; Romania (only boosters from Pfizer or Moderna were approved); Serbia; Slovakia; Spain (Pfizer or Moderna booster shots for all inoculated with J&J); Sweden (will begin gradual rollout)

These countries are offering boosters to people with weak immune systems, the elderly or vulnerable:

** Belgium (mRNA); Bulgaria; Denmark; Finland (may expand to other Finns later in the autumn); Ireland; Lithuania; Netherlands (over-60s); Portugal (will offer booster shots to a quarter of its population by the end of January, including over 50s inoculated with J&J vaccine); Slovenia; Spain (expanded from over-70s to over-60s); Switzerland (new recommendation for people under 65 expected in the next few weeks)

AFRICA

** Egypt will activate within days a plan to offer vaccine booster shots for senior citizens, people with chronic diseases and healthcare workers, the health ministry said on Nov. 24.

** Morocco, which has administered the most doses in Africa, started giving a third dose beginning in October.

** Nigeria is trying to secure booster shots, the head of the presidential steering committee on COVID-19 said on Nov. 15.

** Tunisia (5 months after second dose)

ASIA, MIDDLE EAST

** India is not considering authorising booster COVID-19 doses, three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

These countries are offering boosters to adults after they receive a full dose:

** Bahrain (Sputnik V, all over-18s at least six months after second dose); Cambodia (AstraZeneca); Indonesia (health workers only, wider population planned in 2022); Israel (all over-12s); South Korea (initial doses to high-risk groups or people with weakened immune systems); Turkey; Thailand (AstraZeneca or mRNA-type booster shots to people who were administered Sinovac brand); UAE (mandatory for people inoculated with Sinopharm vaccine)

These countries are offering boosters to people with weak immune systems, the elderly or vulnerable:

** China; Hong Kong; Singapore

AUSTRALIA began administering Pfizer COVID booster shots in November to fully vaccinated adults.

LATIN & CENTRAL AMERICA

These countries are offering boosters to adults after they receive a full dose:

** Brazil; Uruguay (offers a Pfizer dose for those fully vaccinated with Sinovac)

These countries are offering boosters only to the immunosuppressed:

** Ecuador (boosters for general population planned from January 2022), Panama

These are offering boosters to elderly, vulnerable and at-risk people:

** Chile; Brazil; Dominican Republic, El Salvador (elderly, health workers, people with underlying health conditions)

** Mexico will analyse administering booster vaccine doses against COVID-19, especially for older people

COMPANIES

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized on Sept. 22 a booster dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those 65 and older, all people at high risk of severe disease, and others who are regularly exposed to the virus.

The FDA authorized a third dose by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Inc on Aug. 13 for people with compromised immune systems.

Pfizer/BioNTech, as well as Moderna, received FDA authorisation for the use of booster doses of their vaccines for all adults on Nov 19.

Regulators had previously authorized boosters for all recipients of Johnson & Johnson's one-dose vaccine, two months after their primary dose.

The European Union's drug regulator (EMA) authorised the use of Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for over-18s, at least six months after the second dose.

The EMA is also considering an authorisation for AstraZeneca's and Johnson & Johnson's booster dose.

Canada authorised booster dose of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for adults.

(Compiled by Dagmarah Mackos, Veronica Snoj, Filipe Braganca; Editing by Giles Elgood, Mark Heinrich and Mark Potter)

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