European Medicines Agency green-lights booster shots for all adults

European Medicines Agency (EMA) has today given the green light to Member States deciding for themselves whether to roll-out 3rd booster shots of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine in order to increase antibodies for everyone over the age of 18 – the idea being the shots could be administered six months after the second dose.

The agency has also given its approval today to the immunosuppressed being given 3rd shots of either Pfizer/BioNTech ‘Comirnaty’ or the Moderna vaccine.

EMA is known to be considering a request by Moderna to administer 3rd shots in the EU to the over-12s – again six months after receipt of the second dose.

Bit by bit the agency appears to be taking the bloc to a destination it hinted at almost a month ago (click here).

By saying Member States should make up their own minds, it is clear already that Portugal has.

Only last week, health minister Marta Temido was confirming that the country had purchased another 24 million vaccines (click here), while prime minister António Costa has stressed that if EMA “determines the necessity of a 3rd dose”, Portugal will be ready to comply.

The wording however is curious: Mr Costa left the ball in EMA’s court – and EMA has said that the public health entities in each country “can emit recommendatinos pondering the efficacy and safety of the vaccine”. It is not quite the same as ‘determining a necessity’.

Language over the next few days will show us which way this is all going.