Germany to offer fourth Covid-19 jab to risk groups

The German Standing Vaccines Commission (STIKO) has provisionally recommended a fourth coronavirus vaccine for at-risk groups, following in the footsteps of Israel and several European countries.

People queue for a vaccination in Cottbus, Brandenburg, in January.
People queue for a vaccination in Cottbus, Brandenburg, in January. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Frank Hammerschmidt

In its preliminary decision released Thursday, STIKO recommend that high-risk groups receive a fourth vaccination dose – or a second booster shot – with an mRNA vaccine.

“Current data show that protection against the currently circulating Omicron variant decreases within a few months of the first booster vaccination,” said STIKO in its preliminary decision. 

“This is particularly significant for people aged 70 years and older, and for people with immunodeficiency, as they have the highest risk of a severe Covid-19 course after infection.

“The second booster vaccination should improve protection and prevent severe illness in people at risk. Staff in medical facilities and care institutions should be better protected, as they can become infected more easily.

“Another goal is to maintain medical and nursing care by reducing isolation and quarantine measures.”

READ ALSO: German pharmacies to offer Covid vaccinations ‘from February 8th’

The recommendation for a fourth jab is for the over 70s, care home residents, people with a weaker immune system over the age five, as well as those working in medical and care facilities with direct patient or resident contact.

“The second booster vaccination should be carried out with an mRNA vaccine at the earliest three months after the first booster vaccination in groups of persons at risk,” said STIKO.

“Staff in medical and nursing facilities should receive the second booster vaccination after six months at the earliest.”

Data from Israel suggests that a fourth vaccination dose “brings about a certain improvement in protection against infection and a clearer improvement in protection against severe disease,” STIKO chairman Thomas Mertens told the Funke Mediengruppe recently.

In Israel, people over 60, immunocompromised people and medical staff have already received the fourth vaccination. In the meantime, all adults there with pre-existing conditions can get a fourth vaccination.

Denmark, Hungary and Spain are also offering fourth jabs to high-risk groups, as are other countries including Chile and Brazil, reported AFP. 

Novavax recommended for over 18s

STIKO also backed the Novavax jab for use in adults in Germany. 

The vaccine, which is protein-based, uses more conventional technology than the newer mRNA vaccines that have proven to be the most effective during the pandemic. 

It is similar to those used against flu, and many hope it will convince vaccine hesitant people in Germany to get protected against Covid-19.

READ ALSO: Can ‘old-fashioned’ Novavax vaccine convince vaccine sceptics?

STIKO recommended that adults can receive two doses of Novavax, given at least three weeks apart. However, it said the booster shots should be one of the mRNA vaccines, BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna.

STIKO said: “In the approval studies, the vaccine showed an efficacy comparable to that of the mRNA vaccines.”

The vaccine is currently not recommended for pregnant women and nursing mothers.

The draft recommendations released Thursday by STIKO have now been sent to experts and states for their comments and final approval.

Member comments

  1. Ridiculous. Results from the Israel “experiment” showed that a fourth dose did not have beneficial effects. How many times are we going to “boost” with the same vaccine.

    1. if you dont want the “booster” to be the “same” vaccine then the “solution” might be to ask your “doctor” for one of “the” other 4 vaccines.

    2. Israel currently has its highest daily feath toll since the who pandemic began. No one talks about that though

      The vaccines have already been brought. Gotta use them all somehow.

    1. If you’re vaxxed and boosted, chance of dying from COVID is extremely remote if you become infected.

      However, no vaccine is 100 % effective against contracting or spreading COVID, influenza, Ebola or any other infectious disease. If you want those odds, the only “safe” place is in the grave. That’s reality.

      1. I was joking but my thinking is very simple really. I am of the age where other children in my class at school died of polio and diphtheria so I understand the value of being vaccinated, and even if I have been boosted and need boosting again against Covid because a new variant appears then that’s fine by me.

  2. As long as the homeopathic/crystals/essential oils/conspiracy theory crowd stays stupidly stubborn, we will not 2G+++ our way out of this dilemma.

    Germany is too densely-populated to prevent spread without a vaccine mandate. Sorry, anti-vaxxers. You‘ll just have to lift your sleeves and get vaccinated.

    1. You do know that the covid vaccine and booster do not stop the spread? 2G+++ is where its going regardless of mandates or dictats. Its all profit. Has been since the first jab.

      So you want a vaccine mandate? Thats great. Where do you propose the end should be? Once everyone is 2/3/4 times jabbed? There will be some people who will be injured and some will die from the vaccine. ( the case with all medicines). Is it better they die from the vaccine or from covid? Why? Should they sacrifice themselves for the greater good? ¹If covid becomes endemic, then what?
      Should private companies profit from mandates?

      You gathered together a large group of people there. the homeopathic/crystals/essential oils/conspiracy theory crowd. I assume these are your list of deplorable people. How do you suppose we deal with them? That is the Question.

      Be careful what freedoms you want to loose. Its sharp tip of a long wedge. The government should have no place telling people how to live their lives. Liberty means responsibility. Thats why most men dread it.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”