Stiko wants to comment on the new Omicron vaccines today. A committee member has already given details in advance.
Update from Tuesday, September 20, 4:25 p.m .: The Standing Vaccination Committee (Stiko) advocates the preferred use of the new preparations adapted to the Omicron variant for Covid 19 booster vaccinations. However, a fourth corona vaccination is still only recommended for certain groups, such as people over the age of 60, according to a Stiko statement on a draft resolution. It is not yet a final recommendation.
The draft relates to both the recently approved BA.1 vaccines and an even more recent BA.4/BA.5 vaccine. Both elicited an improved antibody response against different omicron variants compared to previous mRNA vaccines, they said. In addition, there were consistently good answers to the variant from the early phase of the pandemic.
The Stiko wants to recommend a further, fifth corona booster vaccination to people who are particularly at risk, such as the very old and patients with immunodeficiency. According to the Stiko, children from five to eleven years of age should continue to be vaccinated with the previous vaccines that are recommended and approved for this age group.
According to the expert panel, people who have not been infected with Sars-CoV-2 since the end of 2021 as part of the omicron wave should benefit from a booster with an advanced vaccine. However, anyone who has recently received a booster vaccination with the conventional preparations in accordance with the previous recommendation does not need “a separate extra vaccination dose with an adapted vaccine”.
Stiko wants to comment on omicron vaccines – first details known
First report from Tuesday, September 20: Berlin – According to committee member Christian Bogdan, the Standing Vaccination Committee (Stiko) wants to recommend the use of the new corona vaccines adapted to the Omicron variant. As the scientist from the University Hospital Erlangen announced, the previous criteria for the first and second booster vaccinations will initially remain unchanged.
A fourth vaccination against the corona virus is currently only recommended for people aged 60 and over, residents of nursing homes and risk groups. This recommendation by the Stiko should therefore not be adjusted.
The information network Science Media Center (SMC) announced that an official communication on the draft vaccination recommendation should be published on Tuesday (September 20). It will therefore not yet be a final Stiko recommendation. Changes are still possible.
Corona: Stiko comments on new Omicron vaccines
In the past few weeks, several of the corona vaccines adapted to the omicron variant have been approved in the European Union. It can be used in people aged 12 and over as a booster vaccination. It is about preparations adapted to the BA.1 subline and a somewhat newer BA.4/BA.5 vaccine. In addition to Omikron, the new vaccines also take into account the original corona virus. The goals are a better immune response against omicron and a refresher in relation to the so-called wild type.
Bogdan said Stiko made no distinction between the BA.1 vaccines and the newer BA.4/BA.5 preparation in its decision. The relatively sparse data situation was therefore difficult for the expert panel. In particular, this concerns the newer BA.4/BA.5 preparation – Stiko is “not particularly happy” that there are still no data from human studies on this, said Bogdan. For the approval, the authorities essentially relied on data from experiments on mice, but also on findings on the precursor vaccines. Experts speak of the better data situation for the BA.1 vaccine compared to BA.4/BA.5, and there are findings from studies on humans.
New Omicron Vaccines: Booster should not be postponed
Various pieces of the puzzle should have been linked and conclusions drawn by analogy, criticized Stiko member Jörg Meerpohl, director of the Institute for Evidence in Medicine at the University Hospital in Freiburg. But you have to live with what you have. Bogdan emphasized that given the extensive experience with previous Covid-19 vaccines, it is not to be expected that a problem will be encountered.
The virus cannot be eliminated from Germany even with the adapted vaccines, said Bogdan. The vaccination goal is to prevent serious illness, hospital treatment and death as a result of corona infections. However, it is not about keeping incidences low or preventing harmless infections. In the meantime, a situation has been reached in which “a very good basic immunity in the population” exists.
The advice from experts is to use available preparations if a booster is due and not to postpone the step in view of a supposedly better, newer vaccine. Otherwise you run the risk of getting sick in the meantime. Despite the planned recommendation, the previous Covid 19 vaccines can continue to be used. Bogdan emphasized that all existing vaccines protect very well against serious illnesses. With the new preparations, it is a question of preparing for any further Omikron sub-lines that may appear in the future. (dpa/sne)