Status: 06.09.2023 10:30 a.m
The number of cases is increasing, many doctors are warning of a hard Corona winter. A Biontech vaccine adapted to the current variant XBB.1.5 has already been approved. Who should get vaccinated now?
Vaccination with the new booster from Biontech should probably be possible from September 18th. The preparation is specially adapted to the currently circulating omicron subline XBB.1.5, but should also be effective against other current variants, including the subline EG.5.
Booster vaccination against Corona: What does Stiko recommend?
According to the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko), a booster with the new vaccine, which has been adapted to the XBB.1.5 variant currently in circulation, is currently recommended for everyone who is 60 years of age or older or who belongs to a risk group. This group includes all people from the age of six months who are at particular risk of a severe course of COVID-19 as a result of an underlying disease. The booster vaccination should be repeated annually, preferably in autumn. In addition, according to the Stiko recommendation, residents of nursing homes and employees in the nursing and health sector should have boosters.
The Stiko currently recommends a so-called basic immunization for all healthy people between the ages of 18 and 59. That means they should go through at least three “immunological events.” At least two of these events should be vaccinations, the third event can be a corona infection or a third vaccination. According to Stiko, further booster vaccinations are not required for this group.
The two vaccinations against the corona virus should be given three to six weeks apart. Full vaccination protection occurs about 14 days after the second vaccination.
No more Stiko vaccination recommendations for children and adolescents
Unlike last year, there are no longer any Stiko recommendations for corona vaccination for healthy children and young people.
According to the current Stiko recommendation from May 2023, healthy children and young people do not need a Covid vaccination. This also applies to newborns up to six months. They could initially benefit from the so-called “nest protection” of the mother, provided that she already has basic immunity. Babies from 6 months and children and adolescents under the age of 18 who belong to a risk group due to an underlying disease should be vaccinated and have the vaccination refreshed regularly, Stiko recommends.
This is what the Stiko recommends (recommendation of May 25, 2023)
Basic immunity against Covid-19 for everyone aged 18 and up to 59:
through three antigen contacts (vaccination or infection) of which at least two doses of vaccine Children and young people under the age of 18:
no vaccination recommendation. Exception: children and young people with underlying diseasesbooster vaccination (Booster):
for all people from the age of 60 for all people from the age of 6 months who belong to a risk group. These include people with a weakened immune system, with previous illnesses such as diabetes mellitus or trisomy 21 or people in nursing homes. People who work in the medical field or in nursing and therefore have an increased risk of infection. The booster should be repeated every 12 months, preferably in autumn .
Doctors recommend flu vaccination
For the upcoming autumn and winter, physicians such as the CEO of the German Hospital Society (DKG), Gerald Gass, also recommend flu vaccination. “For the autumn and winter, we assume that, like last year, there will be further catch-up effects from other respiratory diseases,” he told the Rheinische Post. Healthcare workers, risk patients and relatives in particular should keep their vaccination status for corona and influenza up to date.
Corona booster vaccines from Biontech and Moderna
The most recently approved Biontech vaccine is adapted to the XBB.1.5 subline and is also said to be effective against the Omicron variant EG.5, which is also in circulation. So far it is unclear whether the vaccine is also effective against the youngest type of virus called BA 2.86, which has been detected in Switzerland, Denmark and Great Britain, among other places.
The manufacturers Biontech and Moderna have already adapted their mRNA vaccines several times since 2022 in order to increase the effectiveness against the corona variant Omicron and its various sub-lines – including the sub-lines BA.1, BA.4 and BA.5.
The federal government apparently only pays for Biontech vaccines
In the new vaccination campaign, the federal government apparently only pays for the vaccine from Biontech and no longer for that of other manufacturers. Contracts with the EU obligated Germany to “buy 17.5 million vaccine doses in multi-dose containers this year and 15 million in the two following years,” Thomas Preis, head of the North Rhine-Westphalia Association of Pharmacists, told the “Rheinische Post”. Only this vaccine is paid for by the federal government.
Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Valneva: Further vaccines against Corona
In addition to the two mRNA vaccines from Biontech and Moderna, the vector vaccine from Johnson & Johnson (vaccine Jcovden, formerly Janssen), the protein-based vaccine Nuvaxovid from Novavax and the inactivated vaccine from Valneva are vaccinated in Germany. AstraZeneca’s vector vaccine is no longer available in the EU.
Biontech and Moderna: How do the mRNA vaccines work?
Biontech and Moderna vaccines are genetically engineered. The mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) is the “blueprint” for every single protein in the human body. mRNA vaccines against corona contain the “blueprint” for only part of the virus: the spike protein on the outer shell. This protein is non-infectious, so it does not transmit the disease.
The body breaks down the mRNA contained in the vaccine in a few days, it does not get into the human genome, the DNA. The muscle cells around the vaccination site multiply the spike protein. The immune system of the vaccinated recognizes them as a foreign body, activates immune cells and forms antibodies against the spike protein of the coronavirus as well as immune cells. If an infection follows later, the body recognizes the spike protein and fights it.
How vector vaccines work
Vector vaccines such as the vaccine from AstraZeneca, which is no longer vaccinated in Germany, and the vaccine Jcovden (formerly Janssen) from Johnson & Johnson are based on a different principle than mRNA vaccines, but are also based on genetic engineering. A virus that is harmless to humans and cannot reproduce transports the spike protein of the coronavirus. The transport substance – the vector virus – is broken down in the body in a short time. The spike protein triggers the same process as in the mRNA vaccines and thus leads to vaccination protection.
Body breaks down vaccines
So-called long-term consequences of vaccination, i.e. side effects that only occur many months or years after vaccination, are not known for vaccines, according to the Paul Ehrlich Institute. Most side effects occur within a few hours or a few days after vaccination, in rare cases after weeks or a few months. The current Covid 19 vaccines have now been vaccinated millions, sometimes even billions, and their side effects – even the very rare ones – are now well known, according to the institute. In addition, the vaccine breaks down in the body after just a few days, but the immune system has “remembered” which cells it must take action against in the future.
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NDR Info | Current | 05.09.2023 | 7:48 a.m