The fourth dose against COVID

Before the expected autumn wave of COVID, everyone—starting with children aged five years and older—should be re-vaccinated if they do not already have a booster dose. This would give them a third dose.

The Czech Vaccinological Society wrote this in a new recommendation on Tuesday. It also suggests a fourth dose, but only for those at high risk of COVID. The fourth dose applies to about 4.2 million people who have already received one booster vaccination.

Most of them did so between last November and February this year, the data showed, with half of them being over 60 years old.

The same goes for health professionals caring for immunocompromised patients, clients in social care and those who care for them, and, of course, for patients over 12 with severe immune problems.

Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children aged five to 11 and Moderna for children aged six to 11, but at a lower dose than for adults and children aged 12 and over. Novavax is also available for those over 18 years of age.

The ideal timing is late August or early September, so the vaccine has the most robust protection through the bitter autumn and winter months when another wave of COVID is expected. For those truly at risk, experts advise against delay.

According to vaccinologists, it is advisable to come in for the first re-vaccination no sooner than five months after completing the primary vaccination. If a person has already had one booster dose, they should wait at least four months for the next one.

The situation is more complicated for people with weakened immunity; some have already received three doses because their bodies did not develop enough antibodies after the vaccination. Although vaccinologists recommend getting their first booster dose every three months or more, the attending physician has the final say.

If someone has recently had COVID, “the administration of any booster dose can be delayed for three months after the illness,” the company wrote. The time is counted from the first positive PCR or antigen test result.

In the country, 6.9 million people (64 percent) have completed the primary vaccination.

The rapid emergence of new variants

The number of new cases has increased slightly over the last two weeks. Probably due to the spread of new, somewhat more contagious variants of omicron-BA.4 and BA.5.

Within a week, the proportion of people infected with the variants rose from 8% to 53%.

This is based on 264 reported positive tests, including discriminatory PCR tests revealing the mutations. BA.4 and BA.5 are predominant in Portugal, with significant proportions also in Israel and the UK.

Around 400 cases are confirmed daily on weekdays. However, the data is biased, and little testing has been conducted. Either because of the mild course of the disease or the free COVID test is only available to people with a doctor’s request.

“According to globally shared data in infectious disease databases, we consider it important that variants BA.4 and BA.5 do not yet appear to be those that, simply put, in any significant way alter or worsen the course of infections in patients,” the National Institute of Health said yesterday.


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