President Joe Biden speaks on the Covid-19 pandemic at the White House on August 18, 2021 (AFP / Jim WATSON)
A recall campaign for the anti-Covid vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna will be launched in the United States from the end of September, health authorities announced on Wednesday, worried about the decline in immune protection observed over time and in the face of the Delta variant .
Adults who have received one of these serums will be able to request a third injection eight months after the second, from the week of September 20, they detailed.
“This is the best way to protect ourselves from new variants that might come in,” Joe Biden said during remarks.
“We can take care of Americans and help the world at the same time,” he defended in the face of criticism pointing to the monumental gaps between poor countries where vaccines are lacking, and rich who can afford to administer third doses.
This recall campaign, however, remains suspended from the authorization of an additional dose by the United States Medicines Agency (FDA).
“The available data clearly show that the protection against infection with SARS-CoV-2 begins to decline over time after the first doses of vaccine”, justified in a statement of senior health officials.
Map of the countries of the world where the Delta variant of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2) has been detected according to the WHO, as of August 17 (AFP /)
In addition, “the effectiveness of the vaccine is generally reduced against the Delta variant”, at the origin of the current surge of the epidemic in the country, added during a press conference Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers of disease prevention and control (CDC).
“We are concerned that this observed trend of decline will continue in the months to come, which could lead to a decrease in protection against severe cases of illness, hospitalizations and deaths,” explained the chief medical officer of the States. -United, Vivek Murthy.
The effectiveness of vaccines remains for the moment “relatively high” against hospitalizations and deaths in the United States, however reassured Mrs. Walensky, studies in support.
Another measure intended to strengthen vaccination in the country: employees of some 15,000 retirement homes participating in public Medicare and Medicaid programs (for the poorest), will have to be vaccinated or their funding will be cut, announced the White House .
– Elderly people first –
A nurse prepares a syringe of vaccine against the Covid-19, August 11, 2021 in Los Angeles (AFP / Robyn Beck)
The first people to be able to benefit from a third dose will be the “residents of retirement homes”, the “elderly” and “many health professionals”, who were the first categories of the population to be vaccinated in the United States. United.
The first injections of messenger RNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) took place in December 2020 in the country.
A booster dose will also “probably be necessary” for those who have received a single injection of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a minority in the United States, according to health authorities. But vaccinations with this serum did not begin “until March 2021”, and data concerning them are expected “in the coming weeks”.
A vaccination center in Los Angeles, August 17, 2021 (AFP / Frederic J. BROWN)
The FDA will also be responsible for deciding the fate of an additional dose for children and adolescents, who began to be vaccinated in May from the age of 12 with the remedy from Pfizer.
The Pfizer / BioNTech alliance announced Monday that it had provided the FDA with initial data showing the benefits of a third dose, and specified that more complete results would be submitted “quickly”.
Moderna is also testing several versions of a booster dose, with initial positive results.
“You get a dramatic increase in antibody levels with a third dose,” White House pandemic adviser Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday, “at least by ten”.
As of last week, some immunocompromised people can already get a third dose in the country.
– Vaccine inequalities –
Almost 200 million people have received at least one injection in the United States, or about 60% of the population.
Washington originally ordered 300 million doses of the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, but an additional 200 million was recently purchased from the two companies – enough to conduct this recall campaign.
J (AFP / Frederic J. BROWN)
Several countries have already started recall campaigns targeting parts of their population, including Israel for people over 50.
And this despite calls from the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone these operations in an attempt to remedy the gaping vaccine inequalities between countries.
“Over the next few months, in the fall and early winter”, some 100 million booster doses are expected to be injected in the United States, which will at the same time give “more than 200 million” doses to d other countries, defended Joe Biden.
The first of 500 million doses of Pfizer vaccine promised by Washington to poor countries began shipping this week.
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