The German Vaccination Commission (Stiko) updated its vaccination recommendations today, Tuesday. In summary, the fourth stitch is particularly recommended for people who are older than 60 years or who have an immune deficiency. Health care staff should also be boosted a second time.
The second booster for those who are particularly at risk should then be administered no earlier than three months after the first booster. Staff in hospitals and care facilities should receive the fourth stitch no earlier than six months after the third vaccination. In principle, an infection that has gone through counts like a vaccination.
people under 60
Younger adults who are fully vaccinated and have already had a booster shot can also get vaccinated. However, the experts see no need that would justify a recommendation. “A person under the age of 60 with a healthy immune system who has been vaccinated three times now does not need a fourth vaccination,” said Christian Bogdan from the University Hospital Erlangen and a Stiko member.
Christine Falk, President of the German Society for Immunology, points out that the Stiko does not advise against vaccination for under 60-year-olds. For example, anyone who is heavily exposed to the virus in their everyday life or has a lot of contact with vulnerable people can be vaccinated again in consultation with their doctor.
If boosted, it is best to use one of the adapted vaccines, i.e. one that has both the original variant and the Omicron variant. The Stiko recommends all three adapted vaccines equally. The question of whether one of them offers more protection than the others cannot be answered at this time. However, experts assume that the differences between the Omicron vaccines are not very large.
According to Christine Falk, this is plausible from an immunological point of view. The BA.1 variant has 30 changes in the spike protein compared to the parent virus to which previous vaccines were adapted. “This is a big leap, for which it has also been shown that new antibodies are actually created.”
BA.4/5 has only three more mutations than BA.1. This is a rather minor change, which is why the BA.1 vaccine should also be a good choice against BA.5. Bogdan appealed to everyone whose second booster is already due not to wait to get a specific vaccine.
You can read what the Austrian vaccination committee recommends here.