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The countdown for the start of the administration of third doses of the anti-Covid vaccine starts: the boosters will start from 20 September, starting with the subjects immunocompromessi. This was the decision taken during a meeting attended by the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza and the Commissioner for the Covid Emergency Francesco Paolo Figliuolo.
Initially, it will therefore be involved an audience of about three million patients. Among them, patients transplanted, oncological and with autoimmune diseases. Immediately after, Speranza indicated in recent days, we will proceed with the other fragile subjects, the guests of the RSA and the over eighty-year-olds. Meanwhile, they are over 40 million (40,006,727) Italians vaccinated against the new coronavirus with both doses according to data published on the government website, equal to 74.07% of the over 12 population. At the center of yesterday’s meeting, therefore, the administration of booster file (technical term which is equivalent to “recall”) to those categories most exposed or most at risk of serious illness. And a discussion is already underway between the Ministry of Health and the technicians of the regions for “the precise definition of the target population” following which the computer systems will be updated for the start-up of administrations throughout the country. To allow the inoculation of the third dose, the structure of Figliuolo still underlines, further doses of Pfizer and Moderna mRna vaccine will be made available.
But if the experts agree on its usefulness for the categories most at risk, they remain instead divided on the opportunity to extend the booster to the entire population. Choices on individual responses. “I am in favor of the third dose starting with the immunosuppressed and then, 9-12 months after the end of the vaccination cycle with two doses, also for the rest of the population », says Massimo Andreoni, head of Infectious Disease at the Tor Vergata Polyclinic, underlining the need to extend the recall at a later time also to all healthcare professionals. «However, I am of the idea – he specifies – that it should be done to everyone. The third dose is in fact necessary because the level of antibodies to the SarsCov2 virus induced by vaccination progressively decreases. This happens in all vaccinations but the time of this decay of the antibodies is different ». For the anti-Covid vaccination, he stresses, “we are seeing that after 9-12 months, but according to some studies even after 6 months, the antibody titer tends to decrease».
Massimo Galli, Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Milan, has a different opinion on the extension of the “booster”: “The third dose – he says – should be done where it is defined as necessary and in certain situations; I am however less inclined for a third dose at all, because more in-depth scientific bases are needed ». In fact, he stresses, “my clear impression is that there are people who remain protected for months and others who respond little or nothing to the vaccine. Therefore, those who do not respond may not even respond to the third dose ». In any case, even for the immunosuppressed, he concludes, the third dose would be appropriate “on the basis of an assessment of the individual antibody response, through a serological test”.
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