Fight against Covid-19: are the boosters enough – or do we need new vaccines?

SAn announcement by the Standing Vaccination Commission came as little surprise to elten as the announcement made by chairman Thomas Mertens on a talk show: The STIKO would recommend boosting all adults. Two days later the time had come, because the corona pandemic was not over with one or two vaccine doses per person. All adults whose basic immunization against Covid-19 was around six months ago should now get a booster vaccination. So far, this only applied to people over 70 or with an immunodeficiency, as well as to medical staff. The Federal Ministry of Health declared booster vaccinations to be a top priority. Currently around 4.8 million adults have been vaccinated three times, and by the end of the year it should be 15 million.

Johanna Kuroczik

Editor in the “Science” section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

There is now a boost against the fourth wave because the effect of the vaccine wears off after a few months. Studies have shown that, and this is now being observed in hospitals, in which the more contagious Delta variant, to which almost all new infections in Germany can be traced back, exacerbates the situation. Couldn’t vaccines targeting Delta help?

Do we need a shot every few months now?

Research on Covid vaccines is in full swing in the background. Companies such as BioNTech and Moderna are working on modified versions of their vaccines that are set for certain variants, some are designed for booster vaccinations. Other companies and research groups are developing completely new vaccines. Have the old ones already served their purpose? Will there be a bunch of vaccines soon, all of which protect against different variants?

The immunologist Reinhold Förster from the Hannover Medical School made it clear in an interview: The vaccines that are currently available against Covid-19 are very effective. However, it did not surprise him that two vaccine doses are not enough to generate permanent immunity: “Take a look at the Stiko vaccination calendar,” he says, referring to the vaccinations that are mostly given as a child – measles, hepatitis -B, pneumococci. “You can see that with many vaccinations three basic immunizations are required within the first year.” And some would have to be refreshed later.

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