Anti-Covid vaccine: does the third dose cause stronger side effects?

4:32 pm, December 10, 2021, modified at 6:47 pm, December 10, 2021

New step for the vaccination campaign against Covid-19. From November 27, all French people over 18 years of age can benefit from a booster dose five months after the second injection. And 16.2% of them have already taken advantage of it, according to the CovidTracker site. On social media, testimonials already suggest more significant side effects than during the first two doses. So is the third more painful? No more than the others, responds Guy Gorochov, director of the Pitié-Salpêtrière center for immunology and infectious diseases in Paris.

“In principle, there are no more risks than after the second dose, it is the same process. If we do a third dose, it is to stimulate the immune response again ”, indicates the immunologist. Before adding: “We’re just going to rekindle a flickering flame.”

Everyone should benefit from this third dose

In the UK, a study of nearly 3,000 people vaccinated for the third time, at least two months after their last dose, also showed effects considered “acceptable”, reports The Lancet. The scientific review specifies, however, that “some configurations were more reactogenic than others.”

The benefits of a third dose

For Guy Gorochov, “everyone should benefit from this third dose.” First, because it allows you to be better armed against the Omicron variant. Then to avoid contracting the virus six months after your last injection. “Two doses will protect well against Delta but not against re-infection,” he says.

To strengthen the immune response, Guy Gorochov even advises changing the vaccine between the last two injections. “Hybrid protocols have better results because the vaccines are not very similar and therefore the immune response will increase in intensity. We gain in diversity, and therefore in efficiency ”, explains the immunologist.

Read also- Covid-19: is the closure of discos really useful to fight against the fifth wave?

On Wednesday, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine pointed in the same direction. The scientists followed more than 850,000 Israelis over the age of 50 who received a third dose of the vaccine. Finally, they conclude that it is around 90% effective against severe forms of the Delta variant.

What are the side effects already identified?

In France, there are still no precise data on the side effects of the third dose. But according to the last point of the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM), during the period from November 12 to 25, there were no more side effects than usual. At that time, the retreats were already open from September 1 for people at risk of contracting the virus.

Only two vaccines are used during this new campaign: Moderna and Pfizer. Most of the observed side effects remain mild. These are mainly injection site reactions, fatigue, headache, body aches, chills, joint pain, fever or diarrhea. Some rare side effects (myocarditis or Guillain-Barré syndrome) are also identified on the ANSM website.

But vaccination remains “safe and effective,” says Guy Gorochov. And the immunologist goes further: “This is an example of success in modern medicine. It is without a doubt the best vaccine that we have found since vaccines exist.”

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