NewsCorona: Stiko boss Mertens does not believe in a...

Corona: Stiko boss Mertens does not believe in a booster vaccination for everyone

Created: 10/24/2022 Updated: 10/24/2022, 6:13 p.m

Stiko boss Mertens expects the number of infections to increase in December. However, he still does not want to give a recommendation for the second booster.

Berlin – Germany is approaching the third Corona fall. Currently, the BA.5 omicron variant is primarily responsible for the corona cases. Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach promotes a booster. A booster vaccination – for most people a fourth corona vaccination – is particularly important for certain groups of people. A vaccine adapted to Omikron BA.4 and BA.5 from Biontech/Pfizer is already available in Germany. The EU Commission approved the so-called bivalent corona vaccine Spikevax against the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 from the pharmaceutical manufacturer Moderna last week (October 20).

Prof. Dr. Thomas Mertens - Coronavirus
Stiko boss Thomas Mertens at a press conference in Berlin (archive photo). © Stefan Boness/imago

Fourth corona vaccination: Stiko does not want a recommendation for a second booster for everyone

Despite the increasing number of infections and adapted corona vaccines, the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) continues to stick to its recommendation: an omicron booster is still only intended for 60-year-olds and people with previous illnesses. There are currently no plans to expand the existing corona vaccination recommendations, Stiko chairman Thomas Mertens told the German Press Agency. There is no reason for that. “Because it turns out that the vaccination does not offer any long-term protection against a corona infection, but probably against a severe course,” said the Ulm virologist.

Vaccination does not offer long-term protection against corona infection

Stiko boss Thomas Mertens

Corona wave in autumn and winter: “Everyone will foreseeably be infected again and again”

It is unthinkable to have the general public vaccinated regularly to avoid infections. Everyone will foreseeably become infected again and again. Regarding the development of the current corona infection situation, Mertens said that it was very difficult to predict. However, he expects the number of infections to increase by December. There is currently another wave of corona diseases, which is causing problems for clinics, mainly due to staff shortages and failures. Mertens also expects catch-up infections with the flu to a certain extent.

Omicron booster: This is what Stiko recommends for the second booster vaccination (as of October 2022)

  • For older people from 60 years.
  • For people aged 5 and over with an increased risk of severe Covid-19 courses
  • For residents and staff in medical and nursing facilities
  • For people with immunodeficiency and pre-existing conditions from the age of 5 years
  • The Stiko does not recommend a second booster vaccination for people under the age of 60 with a healthy immune system (as of October 2022).

Corona vaccination: Three vaccinations against corona are necessary

  • The Stiko recommends a booster vaccination (3rd vaccination) for all persons aged 12 and over.
  • For all booster vaccinations from the age of 12, it is recommended to use one of the approved and available Omicron-adapted bivalent mRNA vaccines. This applies to both the BA.1 and the BA.4/5-adapted vaccines, as can be read on the RKI website.

Compared to the previous monovalent mRNA vaccines, the new vaccines trigger an improved antibody response to various omicron variants, the RKI reports. In addition, they would achieve a consistently good antibody response to the wild-type virus.

Corona experts strongly recommend getting vaccinated now. The new vaccines adapted to the omicron variants are well suited to broadening the immune response, explains Prof. Leif Erik Sander, Clinic Director of the Charité Infectious Diseases Department, in a video on Instagram entitled “Why should I get vaccinated now”.

At least three vaccinations are required for complete vaccination protection. Anyone who has not yet had a third vaccination should do so. For the fourth vaccination, the Charité infectiologist refers to the current Stiko recommendation.

Is the corona vaccination for babies and children under the age of five coming?

The EU medicines agency EMA has approved two corona vaccines for babies from the age of six months. With the vaccines from the manufacturers Pfizer/Biontech or Moderna, such children could also be protected from corona infection, the EMA announced in Amsterdam. Both vaccines were already approved for adults and children aged five and six years respectively. The Stiko wants to quickly make a recommendation for parents and doctors. The first assessment of this had already leaked out over the weekend. (dpa/ml)

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