The German company Biontech and its American partner Pfizer will be delivering the first doses of adjusted vaccine these days. A similar product by Moderna was supposed to arrive as well. But a recommendation by the Permanent Vaccination Commission is still pending.
Berlin, September 5th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — Germany’s sixteen federal states are expecting the first delivery of new vaccine this week. This is about products from two sources that were developed against BA.1, the first Omicron subtype that was identified. Both Biontech and Moderna made the new vaccines in record time. Still, the science community is lagging behind a little.
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The BA.1 subtype started spreading a little less than a year ago. Later, the even more contagious version BA.2 hit. By now, BA.4 and BA.5 are dominating most of the world, including Germany. A vaccine that specifically targets those latest subtypes is being worked on. By the time it is available, a new variant might be spreading. But, experts believe the new vaccine will protect people against BA.4 and BA.5 as well, at least to some extent.
Generally, booster immunizations make severe disease progression, hospital stays because of Corona infections and Corona-related deaths far less likely. That is why Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and other experts have asked people not to wait for new vaccines, but to get vaccinated without delay. The new vaccines are appropriate for persons from 12 years of age. They can be used as boosters only, meaning they are not suitable for initial immunizations.
There is good news: First clinical studies have shown that the new vaccines triggered far more powerful immune responses than the old ones that were available in the past months. In cases of BA.4 and BA.5 infections, they were not quite as strong as in BA.1 cases, but still effective. This means the experts who had expressed optimism were proven right, at least partially.
In Germany, some 76 percent of all citizens have been vaccinated against the Coronavirus so far, while 62 percent also got booster shots. Only 8.7 percent got a second booster as well. This number is supposed to increase substantially. But the Health Ministry is not expecting a big rush on the new immunizations. The European Medizines Agency has already approved the latter. Germany’s Permanent Vaccination Commission has not. Its recommendation might follow this week. This authority’s recommendations are not binding, but most doctors follow them anyway.
According to Karl Lauterbach, Germany will be receiving 14 million doses of the two new products by Biontech/Pfizer and Moderna, and more later. They will be sent to the sixteen federal states. The amounts depend on the number of inhabitants they have. In some states, Corona vaccination centers are the places to go to. In others, including Berlin and Brandenburg, people can get vaccinated at doctor’s offices.