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As Europe Sees Covid Surge & India Mulls Booster Shots, Here's a Look at Countries Offering Third Dose

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: November 15, 2021, 18:46 IST

A 78-year-old man receives a booster shot at Bay Eden Senior Center in the Bronx on Monday, September 27, 2021. (Dave Sanders/The New York Times)

A 78-year-old man receives a booster shot at Bay Eden Senior Center in the Bronx on Monday, September 27, 2021. (Dave Sanders/The New York Times)

Germany, Austria, Canada and France are among the first few countries to begin administering the booster shots.

With Covid variants surging Coronavirus infections across many European countries, several countries are inoculating a section of population with booster dose. Individuals with weaker immune systems should be offered an additional or booster dose of Covid-19 vaccines, the WHO’s expert panel recommended on Monday.

Britain recently expanded the booster programme for Covid-19 vaccinations to younger people after scientists gave the green light on Monday. Over 36 countries are currently administering booster doses of the Covid vaccine, reports said. Germany, Austria, Canada and France are among the first few countries to begin administering the booster shots.

Here is a list of countries offering Covid booster dose:

Israel

Israel was the first country to make a third booster dose of an mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 available for the elderly, before expanding to those 12 years or older, and a new large population study of the initial offering confirms that it reduced infection rate compared with a 2-dose vaccination regimen.

UK

Britain’s government has extended its Covid-19 booster programmes to younger people, hoping to stave off a fresh wave of infections during the colder winter months. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said people aged 40 to 49 will also be eligible for a vaccine booster shot six months after their initial shot. People 50 and over had previously been eligible.

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A booster dose will be offered to all people who were vaccinated during phase 1 of the vaccine programme, no earlier than six months after they received their second dose. The JCVI advises a preference for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine regardless of which vaccine someone had for their primary doses.

USA

California, Colorado and New Mexico are three US states now allowing coronavirus booster shots for all adults even though federal health officials recommend limiting doses to those considered most at risk. Colorado and New Mexico have among the nation’s highest rates of new infections, while California lowest in the nation earlier this fall now joins them in the high” tier for transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Biden administration hopes boosting the U.S. population will also continue to ensure long-term and durable protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death as the fast-moving delta variant spreads. Millions of Americans will be one step closer to receiving a Covid-19 booster shot this week when a key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel meets Thursday and Friday to debate extra doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Austria

Austria said that a booster vaccine will be offered six to nine months after the first course of vaccination to residents of care homes, people aged 65 and over, those with certain illnesses that put them at increased risk of severe Covid-19 and anyone who received either a Johnson & Johnson or Oxford/AstraZeneca shot as their initial vaccine. Vienna has administered 50,000 booster vaccinations to people in risk groups. It said that the country will be available to everyone in Vienna from November 2.

Belgium

Belgium mulls rolling COVID-19 vaccine third jabs for all citizens, a government minister said on November 10. During an inter-ministerial conference on public health, minsters agreed to develop a “global vision” on third shots, Wouter Beke, minister of health and family said in a tweet. The details of the booster program will be discussed at a meeting on November 27, he said.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic had announced that it would offer a booster, starting from September 20, to anyone who had previously been vaccinated with either a single or double dose. The country strongly recommended boosters for people over 60.

France

France began giving booster jabs of COVID-19 vaccines from September for those above 65 years. The recipients will be those over the age of 65 and people with underlying health conditions, providing a minimum of six months has passed since they got fully vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson jab can get a booster shot of Pfizer or Moderna at least four weeks after they first got vaccinated. France’s health ministry said about 18 million people are estimated to be eligible for the booster shot.

Germany

Germany’s Health Minister said that all people will eventually be offered a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine six months after receiving their previous injection. Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the country has to achieve around 20 million booster vaccinations by Christmas.

New Zealand

New Zealand will start administering Covid-19 booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine from November 29, a Minister said on November 15. The country’s regulatory authority Medsafe has already approved the use of Pfizer as a booster for people above 18, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told a press conference. The decision followed further advice to the cabinet from the vaccine technical advisory group, reports Xinhua news agency.

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Hungary

Hungary is offering a third dose to anyone who wants one, so long as the booster is at least four months after their last dose. But the country’s chief medical officer is particularly encouraging the elderly, those with a chronic illness or those who are immunocompromised to come forward. Booster vaccines have been available since the beginning of August. The decision on what vaccine to give will be made by the doctor administering the shot but the government has issued official guidance calling for a mix-and-match approach. That means that if someone received a viral-vector vaccine made by Oxford/AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson or Sputnik V, they now receive either an mRNA vaccine or an inactivated vaccine, like Sinopharm’s.

Lithuania

Lithuania has authorized a third dose for immunocompromised patients, with this group able to get a booster 180 days after their second dose. The health ministry has said that it is likely that other people who want a third dose would be eligible in the fourth quarter. It started earlier in August.

Luxembourg

Immunocompromised people are the only group given the chance to have a booster vaccine in Luxembourg, and there isn’t a plan to open up the offer to the wider population yet. But the government has said that it is considering a vaccine for people over a certain age or for people living in care homes. The rollout for immunocompromised people has already begun.

Sweden

Sweden has announced a booster program for people who are at risk of severe illness from the virus, such as the elderly. The rollout for vulnerable people will begin this fall. However, the Swedish Public Health Agency has said that it expects a third dose to be given to the majority of adults only next year.

Cambodia

Cambodia started on Aug. 12 offering AstraZeneca booster shots to those who have received the inactivated virus vaccines developed by Sinopharm and Sinovac.

Chile

Chile began on Aug. 11 administering booster shots to those already inoculated with Sinovac’s vaccine in a bid to lock in early success following one of the world’s fastest mass vaccination drives.

China

China’s capital Beijing had begun offering booster shots against Covid-19, in October, four months before the city and surrounding regions are to host the Winter Olympics. Anyone 18 or older who have received two-dose Chinese vaccines and belong to at-risk groups, including those participating, organizing or working on games facilities, would be eligible for the additional shot, state media reported Friday.

The booster has been rolling out in cities across the vast nation since late September, but Beijing authorities have been extra cautious in who receives the extra jab.

Denmark

Danes with weak immune systems such as cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, or those with organ transplants, will soon be recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster, the Danish Health Authority said on Aug. 20.

Finland

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare recommended on Sept. 8 that third coronavirus vaccine doses be first administered to people aged 12 or more with weakened immune systems.

Indonesia

Indonesia is planning to give Covid-19 vaccine booster shots to the public after 50 percent of its population has been fully vaccinated, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said. Many health workers have already received boosters.

Italy

Italy is expanding the number of people eligible for a booster vaccine as the cases remains high in European countries. Health Minister Roberto Speranza told lawmakers in the Chamber of Deputies that anyone 40 years or older can get the booster shot starting on Dec 1. Italy has already offered boosters to those 60 years old and older who received their last vaccine dose at least six months earlier.

India’s Stand on Booster Doses

A senior government official had said that India would shortly release a policy on booster doses. Dr NK Arora, the chairperson of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), reportedly said last week that the policy document is expected to be released in the next ten days. Earlier, the chairman of Bharat Biotech, Dr Krishna Ella, said people will need booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine if the virus mutates.

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first published:November 15, 2021, 18:23 IST
last updated:November 15, 2021, 18:46 IST