According to a UK study, some patients with compromised immune systems show a low or non-existent antibody response after getting two doses of the Covid vaccination.
Experts aren’t sure what that means in terms of protection, but they believe booster shots are a good idea for certain immunocompromised people.
It covers people with vasculitis who are using rituximab, a powerful anti-inflammatory drug.
Booster Covid dosages have already begun to be given out in a few other nations.
The UK is scheduled to start giving booster shots to vulnerable populations next month, but it is awaiting advice from the JCVI, an independent advisory organization.
The Octave study, which was financed by the Medical Research Council and coordinated by scientists at the University of Birmingham, is one of the pieces of evidence that will be considered by the JCVI.
Patients with cancer, inflammatory arthritis, kidney or liver problems, and those undergoing a stem cell transplant are among those who have joined the study.
The results of lab tests on 600 of these volunteers’ blood samples, which were published as a pre-print in The Lancet medical journal, suggest:
-40% had a sub-optimal antibody response after two doses of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines.
Of those, 11% failed to develop any detectable antibodies four weeks after two vaccination doses – many were rituximab-treated patients with vasculitis.
However, 60% of them had antibody levels comparable to healthy young people, and they all had ideal levels of T cells, a kind of immune cell that can eliminate coronavirus infection from the body.
Covid jabs are very effective for people with underlying health conditions, according to recent research that used real-world data on Covid illness rates in more than a million at-risk people. Covid jabs reduced the risk of symptomatic Covid-19 by around 90%.
The effect of giving patients a booster shot will now be investigated as part of the Octave trial.