Stiko adjusts recommendation for omicron vaccines


Stiko recommends a second booster vaccination for people over the age of 60 and high-risk patients over the age of five.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin, Frankfort The Standing Vaccination Committee (Stiko) has adjusted its recommendation to the new Omikron vaccines. Accordingly, Stiko generally recommends the vaccines adapted to the omicron subvariants BA.1 and BA.4/BA.5 for the groups for which a first and second booster vaccination is already an option. The committee published the recommendation on Tuesday afternoon.

The Stiko advises people over the age of twelve who have only received a basic immunization with two vaccinations to do a booster vaccination with the new vaccines. Stiko also sticks to the age recommendation for the fourth vaccination, but has added the new vaccines to it.

The Commission recommends this second booster vaccination with the new vaccine to people over the age of 60 and people over the age of five who have a higher risk of developing a severe disease due to an underlying disease. A second booster dose is also recommended for people in the medical profession.

The vote of the independent committee is used by many doctors as a guide. The new vaccines are already generally approved. the European Commission approved Biontech/Pfizer's BA.4/5 vaccine last Tuesday. Biontech/Pfizer's BA.1 vaccines and Moderna had already received approval shortly before. They have been vaccinated in the practices since last week.

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According to the Minister of Health, the vaccine adapted to the BA.5 variant should Karl Lauterbach (SPD) will again be available in the practices for the first time “from the middle of the week”. First doses of the preparation from Biontech are to be delivered to pharmaceutical wholesalers this Tuesday, according to earlier ministry information.

Depending on availability, the first tranches of the vaccine could then be delivered to the pharmacies and then to the practices on Thursday, the pharmaceutical wholesaler said. LAccording to the Federal Ministry of Health, service providers such as practices should assume “that they cannot be served in full with a single delivery this week, but in several partial deliveries.” By October 3rd Germany received around 19 million doses of the vaccine.

BA.5 vaccine: Trouble with panel doctors

Specifically, the doctors in private practice ordered 1.6 million doses of the BA.1 vaccine in the week before last and around 1.2 million doses of the vaccine in the past week, which they will receive from both manufacturers this week. The Central Institute for Statutory Health Insurance Physician Care (ZI) informed the Handelsblatt on request. Order numbers for the BA.5 vaccine were not yet known as of Tuesday.

Karl Lauterbach (SPD)

According to the Minister of Health, the vaccine adapted to the BA.5 variant should be available in practices shortly.

(Photo: IMAGO/Political Moments)

In any case, the “current vaccine orders could only be delivered in part or with a delay,” criticized ZI boss Dominik Stillfried to the Handelsblatt. "This makes scheduling appointments for the practices more difficult." At the same time, the Federal Ministry of Health is stirring the "advertising drum for the new vaccine".

The fact that there will soon be two vaccines in practices makes the consent process more complex and increases the amount of advice required. "A significant increase in vaccinations is therefore only to be expected in the further course of autumn - especially in connection with the influenza vaccinations that are then due," said Stillfried.

According to Christian Bogdan, immunologist at the Erlangen University Hospital and member of the Stiko, a healthy person under 60 who has been vaccinated three times “does not need a vaccination at first” anyway. The expert does not think much of the idea of ​​some people being able to get basic protection against corona infections with a booster vaccination every few months.

"The hope of eliminating the virus is unreal," says Bogdan. "We will have to live with the virus." The aim is to immunize the population in such a way that people do not become seriously ill. “It is not possible to prevent harmless infections with vaccination with this virus,” says Bogdan.

Covid vaccine doses

The manufacturer Moderna should initially deliver 1.65 million doses of BA.1 vaccine in the first week and 2.38 million doses in the second week.

(Photo: IMAGO/Sylvio Dittrich)

The experts have no preference for the vaccines adapted to BA.1 or BA.4/BA.5. "We make no difference in the vaccines adapted to Omikron BA.1 or BA.4/5," said Christine Falk, President of the German Society for Immunology and a member of the Federal Government's Corona Expert Council.

>> Read here: Bundesrat decides Corona rules - What will apply in Germany from October

The adapted omicron vaccine that is available should be taken, according to the tenor of the experts. Experts do not recommend waiting for the BA.4/BA.5 vaccine. According to Falk, the largest jump in the mutations of the spike protein of the Sars-CoV-2 virus was from wild type to omicron BA.1. There are 30 genome sequences changed in the genome of the virus. From BA.1 to BA.4/BA.5 there are only three sequences.

More: Vaccination via nasal spray - will the new vaccines finally stop the spread of the corona virus?

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