Spain to approve third Covid-19 vaccine for immunosuppressed people

Spain to approve third Covid-19 vaccine for immunosuppressed people
Those who are immunosuppressed will receive third vaccine dose. Photo: PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP
Spain's Ministry of Health has announced in a recent press release that it will give a third Covid-19 vaccine dose to those with weakened immune systems, but has excluded some cancer patients.

The final decision is expected to be passed by the Interterritorial Council this Wednesday, although Spain’s Ministry of Health specifies that there will be no changes.

In July, Health Minister Carolina Darias had said that it was likely that a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine would be needed and had initially said that everyone might get one, however now it has been limited to those in high-risk groups, who were some of the first to receive their initial Covid-19 vaccine.

For the moment, this includes transplant patients (lung, kidney, pancreatic, heart, liver, and intestinal), blood stem cell recipients, patients treated with monoclonal antibodies, and those suffering from multiple sclerosis. According to El Periódico, this amounts to around 100,000 people.

However, there are some patients who were included in the initial high-risk group who have not been approved for a third dose. This includes cancer patients treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which is roughly 366,000 people.

A final decision has yet to be made on whether people receiving hemodialysis, those with HIV or with Down’s syndrome over 40 years of age will also be jabbed with a third dose.

The meeting between the government and the autonomous regions this Wednesday could see these final decisions being made.

Currently, the Vaccine Report, written by technicians who advise the Ministry of Health, recommended “continuing to the review of the evidence of the benefits that an additional dose can bring in other immunosuppressive situations, such as oncohematological [blood cancer] patients undergoing chemo-radiotherapy treatment and in those with basic pathologies that require immunosuppressive treatment”.

The third inoculation must be carried out at least 28 days after receiving the previous dose, according to the recommendation of the Vaccine Committee and the COVID-19 Vaccination Technical Working Group.

In the case of people undergoing treatment with anti-CD20 drugs, which include rituximab or veltuzumab, among others – the third dose must be administered six months after the end of treatment.

In all these cases, mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer or Moderna will be administered, preferably the same type of vaccine as that which had been administered previously.

Health experts at the European level recommended last week that the use of third doses be limited to people with severely weakened immune systems, such as patients with transplants or undergoing cancer treatments. Both the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Spanish vaccine presentation have already reached the same conclusion.

Extending an extra dose to the general population, for the moment, is still out of the question.

READ ALSO: Who still hasn’t been vaccinated against Covid-19 in Spain?


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