The top health authority in France has claimed that those who have previously had COVID-19 only need to receive one vaccine dosage.
According to the High Authority of Health in France, those who have recovered from the virus have developed an immune response very similar to that which is encouraged by the vaccine. The government organisation claims that taking an initial shot of the vaccine would “play the role of reminding” the recipients body how to fight the disease.
The vaccines that have been approved across the European Union and are made by Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, all call for the patient to take two doses, with a gap of weeks between.
France’s government has so far been accused, along with much of the European Union, of being too slow in the vaccine rollout effort. Highlighting this, while more than 14 million people in the UK have been vaccinated, the number only sits at just over 2 million in France. If Paris were to take advice from its health body - and it is unclear at the moment whether it will do so - then offering only one dosage to those who have previously had the virus may help to speed up the effort.
Recent studies appear to support the position of France’s health body that those who have recovered from COVID-19 may only need one vaccination shot.
A study at New York’s Mount Sinai medical school discovered that people who had built up immunity to the virus had “10 to 20” times higher antibody levels following their first vaccine than those who have never had COVID-19. The study’s findings - which tested a small sample of 109 people - are however preliminary, but researchers made clear that they did not believe that there would be a negative consequence to giving just one dose to a previously infected person.
Dr Viviana Simon, a co-author of the study, noted that, “it’s not surprising that the natural infection worked as a primer and the first vaccine dose is a booster.”
While being criticised by international bodies such as the World Health Organisation for its slow vaccine rollout, France’s number of infected continues to decline. There were 20,701 reported new cases on Friday, February 12, compared with 22,139 the week before. France’s latest daily death figure stood at 320, with around 81,000 in total since the start of the pandemic last year.