Germany & World 01/14/2022 06:58 am
Who needs booster after booster?
Many had this hope: get boosters and the corona pandemic will finally be over. But more vaccinations could follow. A billboard in Hanover provides information about the intervals between booster vaccinations. © dpa/Julian Stratenschulte 1 minute reading Berlin. The waning effect of the corona vaccines and new variants of the corona virus have dampened hopes of getting the pandemic under control quickly. Basic immunization is no longer enough to leave Covid-19 behind. The current magic word is booster, after which the booster-booster could even follow.
In Israel – a pioneer in corona vaccinations – this fourth dose is already being administered to people who are particularly at risk of corona. Although it causes a renewed increase in antibodies. Shortly after the fourth vaccination, however, the situation was the same as shortly after the third, according to the Israeli data. Does that mean we need to get re-vaccinated against the coronavirus about every three to four months? Here you will find useful tips and the latest news about shopping and gifts from your region. Sebastian Ulbert, vaccine researcher from the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, distinguishes between people with a healthy immune system and people with a weak immune system. This means: For Ulbert, the administration of a fourth dose is not initially an option for everyone, but primarily for older people and risk groups, as in Israel.
Christine Falk, President of the German Society for Immunology (DGfI), sees a fourth dose more for the very old. At the moment it is also about protecting old people’s homes in particular from omicron. The immunologist reports that some people from certain groups, such as transplant recipients, have already had four vaccinations.
For the majority of the population, however, the booster booster does not play a role for the time being. “The normal population with a healthy immune system does not need the fourth vaccination,” says Falk. For Ulbert, it is still unclear whether and how the effect of the third vaccination will decrease in people with a healthy immune system. According to the vaccine expert, it could also be that you are protected from severe corona diseases “much longer”. For DGfI President Falk, the focus is currently on boosting the general population with a third vaccination in order to “get out of the winter”.
For the period after that, the experts are more confident – at least for those with a healthy immune system, if the virus does not change dramatically. With so-called “inactive vaccines” such as the corona vaccination, the protection usually remains “relatively high for a relatively long time” at the latest after the third vaccination, says Ulbert. The circulating antibodies could fall – as observed in Israel – but it is also about the immunological memory, which continues to protect against serious illness, according to the expert. Therefore, in the case of people with a healthy immune system – in contrast to those with a weak immune system – you first have to wait and see whether they need the booster after the booster at all, explains Ulbert. The Berlin virologist Christian Drosten agrees. In the ZDF “heute journal” he said that healthy adults may not need any further boosters. The prerequisite here, too: The virus no longer mutates as much.
Does it make sense to wait for a vaccine adapted to the omicron variant? “Since the Omikron wave is already rolling, rapid boosting with the available vaccines is more important. This means that Omikron is well protected against severe courses,” says vaccine expert Ulbert. The hope of immunologists like DGfI President Falk is that Corona will undergo a “gradual transition to an endemic situation” after the winter. This would mean that the virus appears regularly regionally and most people have some immunity through vaccination or infection.
If that doesn’t happen, the majority of the immune-healthy could be back in the vaccination order in the fall of 2022 with the booster-booster. Then hopefully a refresher with an adapted vaccine will be used, says Falk. Ideally, this gift is coupled with a vaccination against influenza. That would mean: A visit to the doctor, two injections. And then? Ulbert reports on research on a corona vaccine that should work against a large number of variants. “It would be great to have a vaccine that covers other variants of Sars-CoV-2, but also other corona viruses,” the expert ventures a look into the future. On the one hand, this means that one would also be better prepared for possible future pandemics. On the other hand, this also means that vaccinating against Corona would not be the end of it. (dpa)
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