A few weeks after their approval by the European Medicines Agency and in the context of the resumption of the Covid-19 epidemic, the High Authority for Health (HAS) issued its opinion, Tuesday, September 20, on the use of bivalent vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna against the Omicron variant and its sublineages, including BA.5. The HAS recommends the use of these vaccines as part of a recall campaign to be implemented this fall.
The institution recommends that people over 60 and at risk be the first to receive a booster dose. “HAS recommended extending the administration of an additional booster dose (2nd booster or 4th dose most often) to adults under 60 identified as being at risk of a severe form of Covid-19, to women pregnant and to people living in their surroundings or in regular contact with immunocompromised or vulnerable people”, she said in a statement. Professionals in the health and medico-social sector should also benefit, adds the institution.
As part of this recall campaign that HAS recommends setting up in the fall, the use of bivalent vaccines is recommended. “preferably”, let the Authority know and “regardless of the vaccines previously used”. Only one exception: people under 30 years old. HAS “maintains its recommendation to use only Comirnaty vaccines”, or those developed by Pfizer.
Finally, as it had already recommended in May, the institution “maintains its recommendation to combine the vaccine booster campaign against Covid-19 with that of vaccination against influenza, and recalls that the injection on the same day of the two vaccines is possible, if it is performed on two separate injection sites”.
The bivalent vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna also use the famous messenger RNA technique, but have adapted it to target both the original strain of the virus originating in Wuhan in China, and its Omicron variant. Bivalent vaccines are therefore not “not new vaccines but vaccines adapted to circulating strains”, including the Omicron sub-lineages, specifies the HAS. “Lhe vaccine platform is the same, the total amount of mRNA [ARN messager NDLR] also per dose“, she adds in her press release.
If the tolerance of these vaccines is “identical to that of monovalent vaccines”affirms the institution, it underlines that the“eThe clinical efficacy expected for these new bivalent vaccines is at least equivalent or even superior to that of the original monovalent vaccines, without this probable superiority being able to be currently demonstrated in real life..
Either way, she calls for “continue vaccination efforts for people at risk who have not been vaccinated or who have not yet received their booster doses, in particular the elderly”, pointing out, with only 32.9% of booster doses carried out in 60-79 year olds and 46.2% in 80 year olds and over, that vaccination coverage in these populations is still “insufficient”.