Whether a third dose of vaccine to try to counter the spread of Delta variant, is kicking off studies and research on possible effects. In Norway thousands of citizens have joined the scientific investigation launched in the country, precisely on the effects of the third dose in immunosuppressed.
At the moment, more than 16,000 people have answered that they have weakened immune systems, precisely because it is on these that the Covid has the most severe effects, and we want to see if a third dose can help create a more effective barrier against virus. In fact, many of the research participants did not have great results with the first two doses of the vaccine.
Third dose of the vaccine, research
The study is conducted by the University Hospital of Oslo and funded, among others, by the vaccine alliance Cepi (The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) which contributed 26 million Nok (Norwegian crowns). The project – explains Cepi – aims to recruit at least 6090 patients and 10,000 healthy participants who have so far received two doses. «Although there are now several safe and efficient vaccines against Covid-19, it is imperative that the research and development of these continue – writes Richard Hatchett, director of Cepi, in a note to Norwegian news agencies. We need to know how vaccines work in people with weakened immune systems and if they need three doses instead of two to get sufficient immune protection.».
The vaccines that will be tested are those that are part of the Norwegian vaccination program, namely Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna. The main goal is to find the immune response provided for this group. The researchers also want to find out how immunosuppressive drugs can affect the immune response after vaccination and how age, sex and development of T cells affect the response. The effect of Covid vaccines has so far not been systematically tested on people with weakened immune system, who are the people who have the highest risk of developing a serious disease as a result of the virus. According to the Cepi, there are millions around the world who have weakened immune systems, due to underlying conditions or medical treatments used after organ transplants.
Vaccine to adolescents, Tennessee stops the whole campaign: “Ban the second dose”. Political confrontation
Also in Italy the debate on the booster dose has developed in recent days. “If necessary, we are ready”, declared the Extraordinary Commissioner, General Paolo Figliuolo. The World Health Organization has, however, pointed the finger at those countries that are thinking of the third dose when there are others who are not even able to immunize health workers and the most vulnerable population.
Yellow zone, the alarm of the governors: “New criteria or closes”
A few days ago Pfizer Biontech announced that it has asked the Food and Drug Administration (Fda) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for authorization for the administration of the third dose of vaccine 6-12 months after the second, to maintain high the level of antibodies against the disease, which drops after 6-12 months. But the crucial point is: is there really a need for a third dose? The two regulatory bodies have held back on the recall, explaining that at the moment the population that has completed the vaccination cycle does not need it, not even against the Delta variant. “This does not mean that things cannot change. Sooner or later we may need a “booster” for all or some selected groups, such as the elderly or people with pre-existing conditions »commented Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Research on Infectious Diseases of the United States. In fact, vaccine-induced immunity generally lasts for years and not months, but little time has passed for Covid for now to be certain.
“A possible third dose of vaccine against Covid-19 could be done for two reasons – then clarified Sergio Abrignani, immunologist at the University of Milan and member of the CTS -: when there is evidence that induced immunological memory from the two doses of the vaccine is decaying to a level that at some point the vaccinated are no longer protected and are exposed to reinfection or because a more widespread variant of those in circulation emerges that is no longer well recognized by vaccines and people despite having completed the vaccination course, they are exposed to severe forms of the disease. The two reasons may be contemporary ». However, the scientific data known today do not justify the need for the third dose, not even against the Delta variant. Israeli data tells us that after two doses of Pfizer vaccine, protection from mild or asymptomatic forms drops a great deal, from 94% to 64%, even just a few months after the second injection. It means that a third of the vaccinated can be reinfected, but in a mild form. On the other hand, protection from severe forms drops from 97% to 94%, so the decline is marginal.
The situation is different for the immunosuppressed, on which Norway is working. They are in fact people who need more booster doses to mount a barely acceptable immune response. Just in these hours, the Israeli Ministry of Health has given instructions to administer a third dose of Pfizer vaccine (two months after the second) to immunosuppressed people to protect them from serious illness in case of contagion. The third dose can also be administered to those who have been or are still undergoing various types of oncological treatments.