EMA: Janssen vaccine against Covid-19 may be used as booster dose

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on December 15 that its human medicines committee had concluded that a booster dose of the Janssen vaccine against Covid-19 may be considered at least two months after the first dose in people aged 18 years and above.

The recommendation follows data showing that a booster dose of the Janssen vaccine given at least two months after the first dose in adults led to a rise in antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19), the agency said.

The risk of thrombosis in combination with thrombocytopenia (TTS) or other very rare side effects after a booster is not known and is being carefully monitored, the EMA said.

The human medicines committee also concluded that a booster dose with Janssen may be given after two doses of one of the mRNA vaccines authorised in the EU, Comirnaty (from Pfizer-BioNTech) or Spikevax (from Moderna).

As for all medicines, EMA will continue to look at all data on the safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen, the agency said.

At national level, public health bodies may issue official recommendations on the use of booster doses, either following one dose of Janssen or two doses of the mRNA vaccines, taking into account the local epidemiological situation, availability of vaccines, and emerging effectiveness and the limited safety data for the booster dose, the EMA said.

Data supporting the booster recommendation for Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen will be available in the updated product information.

The EMA said that implementation of vaccination campaigns in the EU remains the prerogative of the national immunisation technical advisory groups (NITAGs) guiding the vaccination campaigns in each EU member state.

“These bodies are best placed to take into account the local conditions, including the spread of the virus (especially any variants of concern), the availability of vaccines and the capacities of national health systems.”

The EMA said that it would continue working closely with national authorities and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) to evaluate available data and provide recommendations to protect the public during the ongoing pandemic.

(Archive photo: Bulgaria’s Military Medical Academy)

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