German Vaccine Panel Supports Second Booster for High-Risk Groups

Berlin — Germany’s independent vaccination advisory board said Thursday recommending a second vaccine booster shot, especially for people over the age of 70 at risk of COVID-19.

In the draft recommendations, the panel also proposed additional shots for nursing home residents, immunocompromised people over the age of five, and staff in medical and long-term care facilities.

At-risk groups say they need to get a second booster at least three months after the first booster, and health sector staff need to receive it six months later. This showed data showing that the protection provided by the first boosters against the currently predominant Omicron mutants diminishes after a few months, especially in the highest risk groups.

Known for the German acronym STIKO, the panel said it did not recommend further shots to those who caught COVID-19 after the first booster.

Official figures show that at least 53.6 percent of Germany’s population received booster shots. In total, 74.2 percent have received the full first vaccination and 75.9 percent have received at least one vaccination.

The German vaccination campaign has been considerably slower since Christmas after rebounding in December amid strong demand for boosters.

The government is concerned that by the end of January, 80% of the population will be vaccinated at least once and the wave of Omicron infections will continue to increase, leading to a large number of unvaccinated older people.

In Thursday’s draft, the Vaccine Commission also recommended the Novavax vaccine to people over the age of 18. Authorities convince some people that Novavax, made using more conventional techniques than the mRNA vaccine that has dominated Germany’s vaccination drive, has so far hesitated to take shots. I’m hoping it might be.

Associated Press