The European Union's top drug regulator issued new guidance on Monday recommending boosters of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in all adults 18 and older, going beyond the recent decision of U.S. regulators who approved boosters only for older adults, as well as those who are immunocompromised or work in high-risk jobs.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) also issued a nonbinding recommendation that immunocompromised people be given an additional dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine at least 28 days after their second dose, as reported by The Washington Post.
For adults with healthy immune systems, the EMA is recommending a booster dose six months after the second shot of Pfizer's Comirnaty vaccine. The agency has said it will continue to monitor studies on the effectiveness of a booster dose of Moderna's Spikevax.
The EMA's guidance gives the European Union a broader scope of eligibility for a booster jab compared to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S.
Currently in the U.S., boosters of the Pfizer vaccine are recommended for those ages 65 and older, those with weakened immune systems, and those who work in high-risk settings. Decisions on the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are expected in the coming weeks.
The EMA guidance is nonbinding for the EU's member states, some which have already forged ahead with their own booster shot recommendations.
The European Union has already vaccinated more than 70 percent of its population, and is moving ahead with third doses despite the World Health Organization calling for a moratorium on booster shots until 2022 — citing the inequity in vaccine distribution and the fact that some poorer countries have yet to deliver a single dose to 90 percent of their population.