Posted Jul 21, 2022, 7:12 PMUpdated on Jul 21, 2022 at 7:14 PM
No need to wait. There is “urgency to vaccinate the oldest/and or fragile populations who have not yet received their fourth dose”, underlines the Scientific Council dedicated to the management of the Covid-19 crisis in a final detailed opinion this Thursday .
France is currently affected by the wave of circulation of the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 sub-variant, which became the majority in mid-June. Several indicators suggest that the peak of this seventh wave “is about to be reached in France”, underlines the group of scientists who must disappear at the end of July to make way for a “committee for monitoring and anticipation of health risks”.
Return in fall or winter
“The pandemic is not over”, nevertheless warns the Council. He developed several scenarios. Like that of the emergence of a new variant, with unforeseeable consequences. In line with what it is experiencing today, France could also have to deal with the emergence of sub-variants of Omicron without this affecting the hospital system too strongly.
Finally, the Council also expects a resumption in the fall, or in the winter, of the circulation of an already existing variant or of a variant close to a known variant. Such a seasonal recovery would be explained by the decline in “population immunity over time” and “greater transmissibility of coronaviruses in the cold season”.
In this perspective, the scientists insist on the fact that even if they provide poor protection against infection and transmission, “current vaccines protect very well against the occurrence of severe and serious forms”. On the other hand, the duration of protection they offer is limited, in particular for those over 60 years of age.
Hence the need, for these people and the most fragile, to make a fourth dose (second booster), insists the Council. The reminders must be repeated within three months for the over 80s and 6 months for the over 60s.
New vaccines should be available this fall. However, “the idea that we are waiting for new vaccines is a false good idea”, insisted the president of the Scientific Council, Jean-François Delfraissy. The Council also insists on the fact that the repetition of doses with fairly short intervals “does not seem to lead to immune depletion”.
Several options can be considered to limit an excessive health impact in a context of free circulation of the virus. The Council is careful not to decide on “a political choice” which “must be the subject of a debate in society”. However, it would tend to favor a “more global assessment of the health impact” than an “approach centered on the hospital impact”.
In other words, the authorities could consider making the mask compulsory in certain places, such as public transport, before the moment comes when hospitals are put in difficulty. This approach would take into account the risks for the most fragile, long Covids and the level of mortality.
The Scientific Council points out that the number of deaths linked to Covid-19 during the fifth wave, that is to say at the start of 2022, stood at 25,000. “A figure which may seem high in absolute terms and in comparison with the mortality of previous waves”.