After those for Omicron 1, here are also the vaccines for Omicron 4-5, the sub-variants currently prevalent in Italy. These new bivalent vaccines – 6 million doses are expected as of Monday 25 September – are indicated for the same categories, that is for the fourth doses of fragile, over 60 as well as for those over 12 who have not yet done the third dose. The novelty, contained in the circular is that they can be “made available at the request of the interested party” as a fourth dose also for all those over 12. A fifth dose is also foreseen for the severely immunosuppressed. In short, the vaccination campaign continues in the name of maximum openness to all.
No to preferential use for one of the two vaccines
As mentioned, the bivalent anti-Covid vaccine updated to the Omicron 4-5 sub-variants is recommended as a priority for the same categories to which the bivalent adapted to Omicron 1 has been recommended (12 million doses already delivered). The Ministry of Health, the Higher Council of Health, the Italian Medicines Agency and the Higher Institute of Health explain this in the new circular: “Following the authorization by Ema and Aifa of the original / BA.4-5 bivalent formulation of the Comirnaty vaccine “Pfizer-BioNTech, it is recalled in the document,” are now available, as part of the anti Sars-CoV-2 / Covid-19 vaccination campaign “, two bivalent formulations (Moderna and Pfizer) of mRna vaccines adapted to under variant Omicron 1. “As specified by the Cts of Aifa, at the moment – continues the circular – there is no evidence to be able to express a judgment of preferential use of one of the different bivalent vaccines available today, considering that all can extend the protection against different variants and can help maintain optimal protection against Covid-19 disease ». Therefore, “the recommendations on the use of the original / Omicron BA.1 formulation are also extended to the original / BA.4-5 formulation, without any distinction”.
The categories for which the new vaccines are indicated
So what will be the priority categories to which the administration of bivalent vaccines will be ensured? “Specifically – recalls the circular – the use of bivalent mRna vaccine formulations is recommended as a priority: as a second booster dose”, ie fourth dose, “in favor of all people aged 60 or over, of people with high frailty motivated by concomitant / pre-existing pathologies aged ≥ 12 years, health workers, guests and operators of residential structures and pregnant women “. But also as a third dose “in favor of subjects ≥ 12 years of age who have not yet received it, regardless of the vaccine used to complete the primary course”. Finally, it can be used as a “second booster dose” after a “primary course of three doses” (therefore as a fifth dose) and “upon evaluation and specialist clinical judgment” for all those subjects “with marked impairment of the immune response due to causes related to basic pathology or pharmacological treatments “.
The opening to all over 12
The circular opens, as officially said, also at the fourth dose for all Italians over 12 who want to do it, as the same circular emphasizes: “These vaccines, taking into account the indication of use authorized by Ema and Aifa, can, however, be returned available at the request of the interested party, as a second booster dose, for the vaccination of subjects of at least 12 years of age, who have already received the first booster dose for at least 120 days “. In practice, those who already want to do the fourth dose, even among the under 60s, can do it by booking the administration at the hub or from the pharmacy or family doctor. However, Italians will not be able to choose the type of vaccine but will have to “accept” what will be available in the hub: the Regions will in any case manage the organization of the administrations and it is not excluded that a type of vaccine is in a hub instead of in an other.