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German health minister advises fourth COVID-19 dosage for everyone under age of 60

by Pragati Singh

Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach suggested a fourth COVID-19 vaccination shot for those under the age of 60 on Friday, defying the opinion of a relevant national panel.

The German STIKO advises a second COVID-19 booster dose with an mRNA vaccine, such as the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna, exclusively to persons over the age of 70, residents in care homes, patients with immunodeficiency, and medical professionals. “If someone wants to enjoy the summer without becoming sick, I would propose immunisation even to younger individuals in collaboration with their family doctor,” Lauterbach told Spiegel magazine.

A vaccination customised to Omicron is anticipated to be released in late August or early September, but Lauterbach says those over 60 “should absolutely not wait for the new vaccine,” because the present doses protect them against major sickness or death.

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Around 85 percent of Germany’s 69.4 million individuals aged 18 and older are immunised against COVID-19. According to official estimates, over 72 percent have had one booster immunisation, while almost 9 percent have received two booster doses.

Despite being slammed by a COVID-19 summer wave, Germany’s immunisation programme remains sluggish.

“It must not be forgotten that the most essential and effective solution is and will continue to be vaccination,” said Ulrich Weigeldt, leader of the German Association of General Practitioners, who urged for a new vaccine campaign last week.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for Infectious Diseases, the country’s seven-day COVID-19 incidence rate was over 720 illnesses per 100,000 people on Friday, up from around 700 the previous week.

The number of cases has been continuously increasing since the beginning of June. “We’re going to have a really rough fall,” Lauterbach said.

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