Covid-19: France recommends booster jab 3 months after initial vaccines

Australia is also set to shorten the wait time for people to receive booster

By AFP/Reuters

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Published: Fri 24 Dec 2021, 2:44 PM

Last updated: Fri 24 Dec 2021, 2:59 PM

France on Friday recommended that adults receive a Covid-19 booster vaccination three months after their initial jabs, reducing the guideline of five months to better fight the Omicron variant.

The recommendation was published by the country’s HAS health authority, which advises the government in the fight against Covid-19.

It comes as cases are surging in France during the Christmas period due to Omicron which spreads faster than any other variant seen so far.

The HAS also recommended that the booster rollout be expanded to now include teenagers who are deemed to be at risk, days after France opened up the vaccination rollout to children aged five and over.

It justified the cut to three months by citing studies showing that vaccines are 80 per cent for one-to-two months against the non-serious symptomatic forms of the Omicron variant, but lose their effectiveness more quickly than with the previous variants.

The effectiveness falls to just 34 percent four months after vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine but the efficacy rose to 75 per cent two weeks after a booster dose, it said.

France on Thursday recorded 91,608 positive Covid cases, a record since the start of the pandemic, exceeding the previous high seen in November 2020. However record numbers of tests are being carried out with 6.2 million in the past week.

Unlike some other European countries, President Emmanuel Macron has so far resisted imposing major new restrictions to battle the Omicron variant, hoping that the booster programme will prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.

Australia is also set to shorten the wait time for people to receive their booster shots, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Friday, as the country grapples with record infections fuelled by the Omicron variant.

Booster shots will be offered from January 4 to everyone over 18 who had their second shot four months earlier and the interval will be again reduced to three months by the end of January.

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