The Albanian Academy of Sciences has recommended that those aged between 12-18 should receive one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and those over 60 should receive a booster dose.
The Academy said that this will speed up the achievement of herd immunity. This is where the vast majority of a population has achieved immunity to disease and can prevent its spread. An example of a disease that has been almost eliminated by herd immunity is measles. This requires 95% of the population to be vaccinated, so the remaining 5% will be protected from the fact that it won’t spread by those who are vaccinated. For polio, this rate is around 80%.
The rate of herd immunity for COVID-19 is not known, but the consensus is the more people are vaccinated, the better. Currently, Albania has only fully vaccinated around 23% of the population. This is due to hesitancy and the spread of misinformation on social media and TV shows.
Last year, the Academy conducted a study on immunity. They called on the Albanian government to speed up the vaccination of an additional 500,000 people to increase herd immunity before the winter season. They added that for the Delta variant of COVID-19, the government should aim for a 90% vaccination rate.
These measures should include those over the age of 12 who have not had the infection and have chronic concomitant diseases, in addition to those over 60.
Deputy Minister of Health Mira Rakacolli said the recommendations of the Academy will be reviewed by the Technical Committee of Experts. She added that the issue of vaccinating children is delicate and controversial.