Italy set to approve fourth covid vaccine dose for over-80s

AIFA likely to give green light to "second booster" for over-80s after approval from EMA.

Italy's medicines agency AIFA is to meet on Tuesday 12 April to discuss offering a fourth dose of the covid vaccine to the over-80s, health undersecretary Andrea Costa said on Friday.

Costa told Radio Uno show Anch'io it was "reasonable" to think that the over-80s would be offered a fourth dose, adding: "This, so far, is the understanding of the scientific community."

He said the recommendation from AIFA "should be in line with the indications" from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which together with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recommended a fourth dose or "second booster" for the over-80s earlier this week.

In a statement on Wednesday the ECDC and EMA concluded that it is "too early" to consider using a fourth dose in the general population.

In an interview in February with La Repubblica newspaper, health minister Roberto Speranza said that a fourth covid vaccine dose for everyone after the summer was "to be considered likely".

Costa also addressed Italy's lifting of covid restrictions from 1 May when "there will be a further relaxation for the Green Pass which, essentially, will no longer be required."

He said there was still debate over whether to scrap the obligation to wear masks indoors entirely after 1 May or to keep wearing them in certain circumstances such as on public transport.

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