Portugal to give booster COVID-19 shot to older adults

A man receives a dose of AstraZeneca's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, as Portugal resumes vaccination with AstraZeneca shots after a temporary suspension, at a vaccination centre in Seixal, March 22, 2021. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

LISBON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Portugal will give a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine to people aged 65 and older from next week, starting with the most vulnerable groups, such as care home residents and those over 80 years old.

The southern European nation, which has the world's highest vaccination rate with 85% of its total population fully jabbed, started last month to give an extra COVID-19 shot to those aged over 16 with weakened immune systems.

It is now extending it to everyone aged 65 and older starting Oct. 11, the health secretary of state, Antonio Sales, said late on Monday.

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He said the booster could only be administered six months after people received their second dose.

Several EU countries, such as Spain and France, launched their own booster campaigns before the EU's drug regulator gave its guidance on Monday, although they vary widely over who is eligible. read more

The EMA recommended on Monday to give those with weakened immune systems a third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech (PFE.N) or Moderna (MRNA.O) vaccine, but left it to member states to decide if the wider population should have a booster. read more

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Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Inti Landauro and Raissa Kasolowsky

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