Fourth dose of coronavirus vaccine: Lauterbach is in favor, waiting for EU recommendation

The European Commission “will develop a recommendation for a fourth vaccine dose on the basis of scientific expertise as soon as possible,” Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said after a meeting held in Brussels. Most health ministers of EU member states supported his proposal to harmonize national vaccination strategies. Lauterbach said the European Commission’s recommendation could provide important guidance for Germany’s approach to the second booster vaccination.

Lauterbach cites research conducted in Israel

Lauterbach has previously advocated for people over the age of 60 to receive a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine. The SPD politician referred to studies conducted in Israel. They showed that with a second booster vaccination, the risk of death from infection in this age group can be reduced by up to 80 percent.

At a meeting of EU health ministers, he pushed for all EU countries to ensure that a second booster is available. “We must not forget that the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe is not over. We have very high numbers of infections, and unfortunately we also have a very high number of deaths,” Lauterbach warned. “The pandemic situation in Europe is worse than people think.” – he added. Moreover, as the SPD politician noted, public attention is currently more focused on the war in Ukraine.

Lauterbach stressed that there are enough vaccines in Europe. Due to the fact that low-income countries are importing less and less vaccines from the EU, they may even have to be destroyed due to expiration dates.

According to Lauterbach, there is no point in waiting until vaccines adapted to the new Omicron coronavirus variants are available. This will most likely not happen until September. A BioNTech spokeswoman said the company plans to “release preliminary clinical trial data in the coming weeks.” Clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine tailored to the Omikron variant by Moderna are also underway.

STIKO recommends a fourth dose of the vaccine for people over 70

The German Standing Committee on Vaccination has so far recommended a second booster for people over 70 years of age, residents of old people’s homes and people with immunodeficiency from the age of five. This recommendation also applies to employees of health care facilities and nursing homes, especially if they have direct contact with patients.

For at-risk individuals, the second booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine should be given no sooner than three months after the first booster, and at the earliest after six months for health care workers.


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