French health body advises 6 weeks between vaccine doses

The increase in Covid-19 cases in the country and the arrival of more contagious variants means there is a need to accelerate the vaccination campaign, the authority says

23 January 2021
By Connexion journalist

The Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) recommends extending the period between Covid vaccine doses to six weeks for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

This is necessary due to an increase in Covid-19 cases and the arrival of new, more contagious variants such as the one discovered in the UK, the health body stated in a report published today (January 23). 

This advice is in line with that issued by the World Health Organisation, the Agence nationale de sécurité du médicamement and Santé Publique France. 

Based on modelling by the Pasteur Institute, the HAS estimates that "in the first month of implementation of this measure, at least 700,000 additional people would be protected by the vaccine".

For patients, "the risk of loss of efficacy appears limited" as "the first dose already offers protection against the virus".

For this extension to be effective, the HAS stated, it must "be implemented quickly and vaccine doses must be effectively reserved for the populations most at risk of severe Covid-19 or death", i.e. people over 75 years of age and people aged 65-74 years, "with underlying health issues”.

Health Minister Olivier Véran has already talked about the possibility of extending the period between doses.

During a press conference on January 7 he said, “It is possible without risk and without loss of effectiveness to postpone the second injection of the vaccine up to six weeks instead of three”.

Read more:

Covid France: extra vaccine dose does not mean more overall

France aims to roll out Covid jab to all by end of August

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