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Sending Vaccines to Africa Gives Better Protection Than Third Dose, Norwegian Immunologist Says

© AFP 2022 / PHILL MAGAKOEA healthcare worker administers a SINOVAC Covid-19 vaccine on a minor during the Numolux/SINOVAC Pae
A healthcare worker administers a SINOVAC Covid-19 vaccine on a minor during the Numolux/SINOVAC Pae - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.10.2021
According to Gunnveig Grødeland of the University of Oslo, two doses grant patients a good and lasting immunological memory response that provides protection to them, despite the fact that the antibody levels go down over time.
As Norwegian authorities have recommended administering everyone over the age of 65 a third dose of the COVID vaccine, referred to as “refresher”, Immunologist Gunnveig Grødeland of the University of Oslo countered that healthy Norwegians don't need a third dose. Instead, she argued, it would be more preventive against serious illness to send the spare vaccine doses to Africa.
According to the researcher, raising the vaccine's availability worldwide is more beneficial than giving booster shots to the local population.
“The more doses you have available for use in Africa, the more you will reduce the likelihood of mutations occurring that may come back to us. In addition, you get a more ethical and fair distribution of vaccines”, Grødeland told national broadcaster NRK.
Grødeland emphasised that while the most vulnerable and the risk groups including the very oldest will benefit from a third dose, for the rest of society it is “bad news”.
According to her, the purpose of the vaccine is to generate immunological memory based on antibodies and T-cells. After two doses, patients get a good and lasting memory response that protects them despite the fact that the antibody levels go down, she suggested.
“You reach a level where enough is enough, and if you end up over, you have passed the level where you don't actually need further protection”, she said.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health vaccine manager Geir Bukholm admitted that it is difficult to identify who needs a booster dose and who doesn't. According to him, age is not necessarily the most accurate yardstick.
“We know that there are very many healthy over-65-year-olds who may not have this acute need for a booster dose, but it is difficult to identify them,” Bukholm told NRK.
The international organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) emphasised the urgency of giving the entire world's population the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines.

“I believe this is about global solidarity, and that we all use the same vaccine pot. The WHO has been clear that rich countries should wait with booster doses until the end of the year, and it is important to listen to them,” doctor Elin Hoffmann Dahl of Doctors Without Borders said.
Norway has committed to redistributing 5 million doses worldwide by the end of 2021, and the organisation believes it is a “paradox” that Oslo has recommended domestic booster shots ahead of fulfilling this promise.
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So far, Norway has administered two shots to 68.1 percent of its 5.3-million-strong population. By contrast, Chad and Benin have a vaccination rate of 0.2 percent.
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