Spain’s Public Health Commission has approved a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for people with severely compromised immune systems, and who are likely to have weaker protection from the conventional two-dose inoculation schemes.
The third dose should be administered 28 days after the previous one in some cases, and preferably the same type of vaccine is to be used, the Public Health Commission said in a statement. This third jab is not considered a booster, but rather an additional shot to complete the vaccination process.
The authority also said that there is not yet data available that recommends administering ‘booster shots’ to the general population. However, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said earlier this month that it was evaluating a potential booster dose of Covid vaccines that may be given six months after the second one.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also called for a moratorium on Covid vaccine booster shots until at least the end of September, in order to leave more doses available for people in countries with poor access to vaccines.
Spanish media have estimated that around 100,000 people with severely weaker immune systems will receive the third dose of the Covid vaccine.
It is expected that the group will include organ transplant recipients (around 60,000 people), bone marrow transplant recipients (20,000), and patients being treated with anti-CD20 drugs, usually used in conjunction with chemotherapy to treat lymphomas and other illnesses.
Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias explained that the reason for administering a third dose only to these patients is that their weakened immune system does not respond sufficiently to a dosage considered as full protection among the rest of the population.
This approach differs from the administration of a ‘booster shot’ for the general population, a process that is already underway in countries such as Israel, which is giving booster doses to the over-50s.
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