Italy recommends fourth COVID vaccine dose for immunocompromised

COVID-19 pandemic in Rome
Syringes used for injecting the vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are seen, on the day Italy brings in tougher rules for the unvaccinated, at a Red Cross vaccination centre by Termini main train station in Rome, Italy, January 10, 2022. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

MILAN, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Italy's health ministry has recommended that people with a severely compromised immune system receive a fourth mRNA vaccine shot against COVID-19, provided that at least 120 days have passed from their previous booster, it said on Sunday.

The special commissioner appointed by the government for the COVID-19 emergency will set the date for the recommendation to come into force based on the needs of the vaccine campaign, the ministry said.

The ministry added that the decision reflects the still high circulation of the virus and the effectiveness that booster shots had shown in preventing COVID-related deaths and, more generally, symptoms that would require hospitalisation.

Italy has registered 152,848 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak in February 2020, the second-highest toll in Europe behind Britain and the eighth highest in the world. The country has reported 12.4 million cases to date.

Reporting by Emilio Parodi and Valentina Za Editing by David Goodman

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