EU Drug Regulator Warns Against Overuse of COVID Booster Shots

The European Union’s drug regulator is warning that too many doses of COVID-19 vaccines could eventually weaken the body’s immune system, rendering the extra shots ineffective.

Marco Cavaleri, the head of vaccine strategy for the European Medicines Agency, said earlier this week that booster shots can be administered “once, or maybe twice, but it’s not something that we think should be repeated constantly.” Cavaleri said instead that boosters should be administered just like an annual flu vaccination. 

Cavaleri is the latest health expert to urge against offering a fourth shot of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine in an effort to provide extra protection against emerging variants of the coronavirus. Britain’s Health Security Agency said last week there was “no immediate need” for people to get a fourth shot, as the current booster regimens are providing good levels of protection. The World Health Organization has repeatedly said that providing first doses to poorer nations is a higher priority than richer nations offering boosters.

In China, authorities in the central city of Xi’an have ordered two hospitals to temporarily shut down amid reports they denied treatment for critical patients in two incidents. A pregnant woman suffered a miscarriage after personnel at Gaoxin Hospital refused to admit her because she did not have a valid COVID-19 test. Meanwhile, a woman posted on social media that her father died of a heart ailment after he was refused treatment at Xi’an International Medical Center.

The city of 13 million people, home of the world-famous Terracotta Warrior sculptures, has been under strict lockdown protocols since December, sparked by a wave of COVID-19 infections driven by the delta variant of the coronavirus. Residents have not been allowed to leave their homes unless they have essential jobs or are undergoing testing, which has led to a massive backlash. 

At least three-quarters of all teachers in France walked out of their classrooms Thursday to protest what they said are the government’s inconsistent COVID-19 health protocols for educators and students.  

France’s largest teachers union, SNUipp-FSU, says the strike “demonstrates the growing despair in schools” as the government has issued three changes in coronavirus testing rules in the space of a week. Teachers are also angry over a lack of highly protective masks and air quality monitors.  

Separately, France’s minister of tourism says it will relax restrictions on travelers from Britain effective Friday. Fully vaccinated visitors will not be required to enter into quarantine upon their arrival, nor will they have to provide a compelling reason for traveling to France, but will still have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of their trip.  

Some information for this report came from Agence France-Presse.

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