A third COVID-19 dose will be available for those in the 40-60 age group from 1 December, Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced on Wednesday. This means another 15 million will be eligible for boosters.
“The third dose is absolutely strategic for the vaccination campaign: we are at 83.7% of people who have completed the vaccination cycle. We must insist: every single extra vaccine gives us an extra safeguard,” Speranza told the Italian parliament.
As reported on Monday, the Italian government is already making efforts to ensure the third dose is received for those eligible to ensure the fourth wave is contained. In October, third doses were already available for clinically vulnerable people, healthcare personnel, guests and staff of nursing homes, those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and those over 60. At the moment, roughly 2.8 million Italian citizens have received the third jab.
Despite the rise of cases, experts said vaccinations are crucial in stemming the infection rate, and the third dose can make a further significant contribution.
Six months after the second dose, antibodies reduce their efficacy, but a third dose can bring protection up to 95%. In addition, they might also help develop long-term memory for the immune system.
(Eleonora Vasques | EURACTIV.com)