Paris, April 8 (Reuters) – France’s best health authority will say on Friday that recipients of the first dose of AstraZeneca’s traditional COVID-19 vaccine, who are under the age of 55, should receive a second shot with a new-style messenger. RNA vaccine, two sources aware of the plans said Thursday.
Reuters said Wednesday that the Haute Autorite de la Sante (HAS), which is responsible for determining how vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) should be used in France, is considering the possibility.
Now HAS has decided to continue with the plan, the two sources said. Two mRNA vaccines, one from Pfizer and BioNTech and one from Moderna, have been approved for use in France.
Messenger RNA vaccines push the human body to make a protein that mimics part of the virus, eliciting an immune response, while traditional vaccines like AstraZeneca use an inactivated virus to carry protein from the pathogen ̵
A HAS spokeswoman has no comment.
Vaccination programs have stumbled in Europe and elsewhere over the past month, as very few mostly young recipients of the AstraZeneca shot have been found to have suffered extremely unusual blood clots, prompting some countries to stop using it as a precaution.
Most have resumed using the shot, although some have done so with age restrictions.
In France, the HAS advised on March 19 that only people aged 55 and over should receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has already been given to 500,000 people as a first dose.
Although their number is small compared to the tens of millions that have been inoculated in the EU, the decision to make a different booster will be essential, as the approach has not been tested in the late stages of human experiments.
Germany was the first European country to recommend that people under the age of 60 who made the first AstraZeneca receive a different product for their second dose.
Some experts say that because all vaccines target the same external protein of the virus, they could be supplemented. But there is no evidence that this approach will be so effective. (Report by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Kevin Liffey)