Vaccination against Covid-19 has already included all the elderly in Brazil and is now moving towards the immunization of the public over 18 years old. However, the effectiveness of vaccines in people over 60 years of age is lower. Thus, the need for an extra booster dose in the elderly has already been speculated. Despite this, so far, there is no official decision on the subject.

The case has already been dealt with by the director of the Butantan Institute, Dimas Covas, who explained the need for a reinforcement of CoronaVac. In Turkey the extra dose is already applied. Some Arab countries are also using Pfizer to boost immunization. However, any extra dose could delay the vaccination of other groups.

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In Rio de Janeiro, the city is studying applying one more dose to the most vulnerable groups this year. “First, we realized that there will be a number of doses available, purchased by the federal government. We have already introduced a first theme, which is the possibility of mixing AstraZeneca with Pfizer, among pregnant women. But this can be taken to other people, even to the entire population”, said Mayor Eduardo Paes.

extra dose for seniors

“This has not been defined, it is a proposal formulated by the city's scientific committee, with Secretary Daniel Soranz, and should be taken to the Ministry of Health. I even talked about it with Minister Queiroga when he was here last week. But this is a decision of the National Immunization Plan”, he added.

In an interview with the newspaper The Globe, infectologist Alberto Chebabo, a member of the city's scientific committee, explained that extra doses will be needed in the future, especially in the elderly, a group in which the effectiveness of vaccines is reduced and the immune response is less potent.

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“Almost all the producing institutes work with the possibility of the third dose. By the end of the year, we will have a large number of people vaccinated for a long time. And we know that the elderly, the first to be immunized, generally have a less potent response to the vaccine. It is very likely that, for them, at this point, three doses are already indicated. Due to the aging of the immune system, people over 60 usually do not respond as well to immunization. Not only them, but other audiences, such as the immunocompromised”, he told the newspaper.

Another issue currently under debate is whether this extra dose for the elderly would be from another vaccine. An Oxford study, for example, indicated that the AstraZeneca vaccine has the effectiveness applied when the immunization is completed with the dose of Pfizer. The mixture is also used in other countries.

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