Germany will have vaccine booster shots ready as early as September, the country’s health authorities said on Monday. Health Minister Jens Spahn and his team of regional health ministry officials agreed that those with a pre-existing medical condition that puts them at risk for severe disease, as well as the elderly, should receive booster shots on an urgent basis.
Spahn said there were new questions as to whether a “reduced or rapidly declining immune response” existed amongst certain vulnerable groups.
Spahn expanded on the Health Ministry’s plan to roll out the booster shot, stating that mobile vaccination teams would be sent to nursing homes and elderly care facilities to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna booster shot.
Doctors will also give the booster shot to those with qualifying pre-existing conditions.
Although a booster shot is being developed by both Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna, the shot will be offered to those who qualify, regardless of which vaccine they received for their initial vaccination.
Vaccine booster shots are not yet endorsed by CDC, WHO
The race for a booster shot has started since the Delta variant has become the dominant strain of coronavirus in the United States and across the world. Despite the urge of pharmaceutical companies to develop third shots, the CDC and WHO have both shown hesitancy on the subject.
WHO chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan cautioned those around the world who are “voluntarily thinking about (getting) an additional dose,” during a press briefing this week.
As we are now, she stated, without complete data regarding the safety and efficacy of taking more than the recommended two doses — or mixing and matching — constitutes “a little bit of a dangerous trend.”
She is joined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Anthony Fauci, who headed up the CDC under former President Donald Trump, who have all come out against the third, or booster, shot for those who are worried about mutations.
All of the three vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use in the United States are spectacularly effective against severe illness and death from Covid-19.
White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters on July 8 “Virtually all Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths in United States are now occurring among unvaccinated individuals.”
Several factors come into play here as well — among them the side effects that do occur in part of the population and which are stronger after the second dose. Dr. Jay Butler, the deputy director for infectious diseases at the CDC, says that therefore, there is a chance that a third dose might incur an even greater risk of an adverse reaction.
Making his remarks after a meeting with the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Butler added that at this time there is simply not enough data to determine if this will occur.
However, as has already been noted with other vaccines, another factor comes into play- that of “a rare problem whereas you get more and more doses, you actually have a muted immune response,” said Dr. Andrew Pavia, a former member of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee.
Some Covid vaccines may be susceptible to this kind of effect, he stated; however, it is not likely to be true with the mRNA-based Covid vaccines, such as the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna shots.