Covid vaccine: the fifth dose in the fall for people at risk of severe forms

Covid vaccine: the fifth dose in the fall for people at risk of severe forms

In the fall, people at risk of developing severe forms of Covid-19 will most likely have to lend a new injection arm. In a document released on Wednesday, May 25, the High Health Authority (HAS) recommended anticipating this strategy “Probable recovery of the variant”.

Affected audiences include immunocompromised persons and their surroundings and also persons aged 65 and over or with comorbidities (cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, obesity, chronic respiratory diseases, chronic kidney failure, chronic liver diseases, cancer or malignant hematology, psychiatric diseases, etc.). Or, according to HAS estimates, more than 25 million people in France. The new injection would most often be the third booster dose for these populations – the fifth dose.

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This recommendation is adopted in a period of relative calm. In fact, the number of new infections continues to decline, with 24,231 cases of SARS-CoV-2 contamination on 24 May, a decrease of 25% compared to the previous week. However, the circulation of the virus remains high and Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon on Wednesday morning at the RTL called on the most vulnerable to be vigilant: “This risk is always there and I ask the most fragile people to continue to use barrier gestures, to protect themselves and to be vaccinated. »

At the vaccination center in Sarrola-Carcopino (Corsica), January 8, 2022.

Three scenarios

“We may have an epidemic coming back in the fall,” the minister added, albeit according to her “the worst is over”. In fact, the HAS is considering three scenarios for the coming months based on assumptions described by the World Health Organization (WHO). The first, optimistic, is a return to normalcy with future less severe variants and maintaining immunity against severe forms. “In this case, the strengthening campaign would only be offered to immunocompromised people to strengthen their immunity.”, explains Elisabeth Bouvet, President of the HAS Vaccination Technical Commission.

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At the other extreme, the pessimistic scenario predicts the emergence of a new, more virulent variant that current vaccines do not cover. “The general population would then have to be vaccinated with new modified vaccines”, adds an infection specialist. While this is unlikely, the HAS notes that we should prepare for this.

But that scenario “probably” is where “The impact of the virus’s circulation, which is still active, would be less due to long-lasting and sufficient immunity to reduce serious forms and deaths.” The variant mentioned here would be close to Omicron. The epidemic waves would then be less and less severe, with transmission peaks “Seasonal, in cold periods”, says Elisabeth Bouvet.

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