The Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) recommends Covid 19 booster vaccination for all persons aged 18 and older with immediate effect. As a rule, the booster vaccination should be given six months after the last vaccine dose of the basic immunization, the STIKO announced. A reduction to five months could be considered in individual cases or if there is sufficient capacity. A draft resolution to this effect has been sent to experts and the federal states for approval, so changes are still possible. This is not yet a final Stiko recommendation.
The panel also combined its recommendation with an appeal to all unvaccinated people to get vaccinated "urgently". A recommendation for the so-called booster vaccinations previously existed in Germany only for vaccinated people over 70 years of age and people with certain serious underlying diseases. In addition to maintaining individual vaccination protection, the extension also serves the goal of "mitigating waves of infection and preventing additional serious cases of illness and death," the panel explained.
Countries take different approaches
"Already, severe Covid 19 cases are leading to a worryingly high burden on intensive care treatment capacity," the Stiko said. At the same time, it reiterated that despite the general recommendation, priority should continue to be given to people at particular risk for a booster vaccination. These included people over 70 years of age, residents of nursing homes, people with disease-related immunodeficiency, and health and care workers. The pandemic vaccination campaign should also continue to "urgently" immunize unvaccinated people who would not yet have full basic vaccination protection.
A survey by the F.A.Z. among the health ministries has shown that the federal states take different approaches to the six-month deadline. While Bavaria and Thuringia offer the booster in vaccination centers after only five months, the majority of the states adhere to the six-month deadline - sometimes more, sometimes less strictly. From Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania it was said that the time interval is a "compelling criterion" for booster vaccination, also in Hamburg apparently "no exceptions" are made. Other states formulated clearly, but nevertheless somewhat more reservedly.