Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that she was delighted the evidence for changing the policy for fully vaccinated health workers was being reviewed, adding that it “sounds like a sensible next step”.
The official health advice from ATAGI, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, remains most people have their booster shot at 12 weeks for optimal COVID protection, but under certain circumstances that can go down to four weeks. Those circumstances include imminent travel or if there’s a risk of COVID-19 exposure.
ATAGI’s concern, and that of some other vaccine experts, is if you have your booster shot earlier than 12 weeks, your body won’t develop enough immunity to reliably protect you from serious disease.
Confused? Here is what we know so far.
What’s the official advice?
The evidence underpinning the recommended 12 week gap between the first and second AstraZeneca shots comes from a study published in the Lancet.
The study found leaving less than six weeks between the initial shot and the booster gave 55.1% efficacy (protection from symptomatic disease). Leaving 6-8 weeks between shots increased efficacy to 59.9%, and waiting 9-11 weeks, efficacy was 63.7%.
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