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French health watchdog backs Covid-19 booster jab for over-65s

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France’s health watchdog on Tuesday recommended a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for people aged over 65 and those with existing medical conditions that could put them at serious harm from Covid-19. 

The advice from the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) watchdog applies to people who have already received two vaccine doses. They will now be offered an mRNA vaccine such as the ones produced by Pfizer or Moderna, which France has ample supply of. 

Last month, the French health ministry announced a booster shot for around five million of the most vulnerable people, including those in retirement homes.

In its statement, the HAS suggested widening the criteria for those eligible for a third shot while adding that the “priority for the next few weeks is to increase vaccination coverage in particular in the 80+ age group where vaccination coverage remains insufficient (at 79.9 percent)”.

The vaccine booster shots should be rolled out from the end of October, the watchdog added.

France is averaging around 20,000 new Covid-19 cases a day, with the return of schools next week after the summer holidays raising concern about a new surge in infections.

The World Health Organization has called for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September in order to address inequalities in global dose distribution.

Israel became one of the first countries to begin administering booster shots at the end of July after a spike in new cases. Germany and the US have said they will start in September.

Germany to offer Covid-19 vaccine booster shots from September

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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