Fearne tells Brussels to stack up on COVID vaccines should third dose be needed

Fearne writes to European Commission to use their advance purchase mechanism to stack up on a third dose of the vaccine should there be need for a booster shot

Health minister Chris Fearne with Commissioner Stella Kyriakides
Health minister Chris Fearne with Commissioner Stella Kyriakides

Deputy prime minister and health minister Chris Fearne has urged the European Commissioner for health Stella Kyriakides to purchase additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in case a third dose is necessary for effective vaccination.

In a letter seen by MaltaToday, Fearne told Kyriakides that due to the strong global demand for vaccines, it was “important that we are not caught off-guard and that we plan in advance” if evidence eventually does show a third dose of the vaccine is necessary.

The EC’s Advance Purchase Mechanism played a strong role in securing vaccines for all EU citizens, especially Malta.

Fearne however told Kyriakides that although the immunological response to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have shown an over-90% efficacy following the second shot, the duration of this immunological response is still unknown.

“This should be closely monitored for the respective vaccines. There is currently no evidence to suggest the need for a future (third) booster dose, however at this stage this cannot be ecluded. It is my understsanding that once a person has been immunised with a partiulary vaccine, in the event of the need for a third booster shot, this sholud be of the same type of vaccine,” Fearne told the commissioner.

Fearne said he hoped for a swift, albeit thorough assessment of another vaccine by AstraZeneca, and thanked the Commission for its role in securing vaccines through its advance purchase mechanism.

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