The government of São Paulo said this Wednesday (25) that it will start applying the booster dose of the vaccine against the coronavirus on September 6 in the elderly over 60 years old of State.
“Since last week, the committee has been discussing with the health area of the government of São Paulo and also with the committee of the State Program for Immunization (PEI), the protection of older people, over 60 years old, and this decision was finalized this morning and to increase the protection of the public over 60, susceptible, therefore, to the effects of Covid-19”, said Governor João Doria (PSDB) at a press conference in the early afternoon.
Also according to the state management, the immunization will be aimed at the population of this age group who took the second dose six months ago.
“People over 60 years old who will be vaccinated are those who have already completed 6 months of the second dose. If, even though they are over 60 years old, if the second dose occurred less than 6 months ago, they should wait until completing 6 months. it is a technical issue, because it is from the 6th month that there is a possibility of a drop in immunity, before that it would be meaningless”, explained the executive secretary of the São Paulo Scientific Committee, João Gabbardo.
The group will be immunized with the brand of vaccine that is available at health centers. Studies, however, indicate that the booster dose should preferably be done with Pfizer, but AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines can also be used.
“In relation to the brand of the vaccine, the position of the Scientific Committee is that this third dose or the additional dose can be used with the vaccine that we have available. I also remember that when it comes to Janssen, which is also a single dose, there will be a booster dose for those who took Janssen. So, the vaccine, the manufacturer, will be according to availability,” added Gabbardo.
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According to experts, there is a difference between a third dose and a booster dose. They call it the third dose, the dose needed to complete the vaccination schedule, to achieve the desired protection. And they call a booster dose the one that will maintain the level of antibodies.
Government of SP announces anticipation of booster dose for elderly people in the state — Photo: Disclosure/Government of SP
Clashes with the Ministry
In the national calendar, announced this morning by the Ministry of Health, the booster dose begins to be applied to the population over 80 years old and immunosuppressed people from September 15th.
The state administration said that it has not yet defined how the booster dose will be applied to the immunosuppressed population.
Governor João Doria argued that bringing the date forward was already discussed by the State Immunization Program and recommended by the group of doctors and scientists responsible for conducting the Covid-19 crisis in the state.
However, earlier, in a press conference at the Butantan headquarters, he stated that the date would only be set after the PEI meeting, which would take place on Thursday (26), and announced on Friday (27).
According to João Gabbardo, the The government will also disclose the program’s dates and the schedule for scaling by age groups.
“This scaling will follow the same criteria as the beginning of vaccination, we will start with the older age groups, people over 90 years old, then it will go down, and the schedule will be established according to the vaccine availability calculations that our staff the Department of Health will still make the calculations to be able to make public how the schedule will be, with what speed these people will be vaccinated”, explained the executive secretary.
Booster dose card will be blue — Photo: Publicity/SP Government
This Wednesday morning (25), the director of Butantan, Dimas Covas, said that the institute is prepared for a possible need for the country to apply a third dose of CoronaVac to the elderly population.
“Butantan is prepared to, yes, provide the third dose,” stated the director.
According to the director, the Institute has, in addition to the doses that will be destined to finalize the contract for 54 million doses of the vaccine to the Ministry of Health, another 26 million in processing.
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A joint study carried out by Instituto do Coração (InCor) and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (USP) recommended the third dose of vaccine against Covid-19 for individuals aged 55 years or older who were immunized with CoronaVac.
The booster dose is also supported by Anvisa.
Booster Vaccine Manufacturer
The government of São Paulo states that the booster dose to be applied from September 6th will be the one that “is available”. However, studies have not yet evaluated all possible combinations between different brands of immunizers.
The federal government already announced that booster doses should preferably be Pfizer’s vaccine. This immunizing agent is already used in other countries around the world to reinforce two doses of other brands.
Asked about this topic, the coordinator of the State Immunization Plan (PEI), Regiane de Paula, said that she has not yet been officially notified by the federal government, and reiterated that the state of São Paulo intends to use all possibilities for the booster dose, including CoronaVac.
“We are waiting for this position from the MS, but we will also have the Butantan vaccine available here. So, all these vaccines will be available to the population that goes to the health unit for their third dose”, said de Paula on Wednesday.
In Brazil, there are at least four ongoing studies that assess the possibility of a booster dose for Covid-19 vaccines used in Brazil. These studies assess the following possibilities:
- Two doses of Pfizer, followed by another dose of Pfizer;
- Two doses of AstraZeneca (AZD1222), followed by another dose of a new version of AstraZeneca (AZD2816);
- Two doses of AstraZeneca (AZD1222), followed by another dose of the same version of AstraZeneca (AZD1222);
- Two doses of CoronaVac, followed by one of the following four immunizers: Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen and CoronaVac.
However, there are no studies evaluating the application of a booster dose of CoronaVac in people immunized with Pfizer and AstraZeneca, for example, which could be the case for several elderly people who should receive the additional dose in September.