Experts in favor of coordinated switch to omicron vaccine

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Germany’s Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) believes an internationally coordinated procedure for starting special omicron vaccines is advisable.

A worldwide agreement must be reached on when to switch to a new Corona vaccine, PEI head Klaus Cichutek said Friday at a technical discussion on the Omikron variant. There is already a working group at the World Health Organization (WHO) for this purpose, he said.

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All the groundwork has already been laid for a rapid transition, he said. Clinical trials are now underway. As of March, the substances could be approved, which is only a variant of the previous approval. Several vaccine manufacturers have already changed some production, he said.

A coordinated approach is also considered sensible because otherwise manufacturers would first supply the vaccine to countries around the world that already had approval. Europe, for example, could fall behind with a later approval.

Fourth vaccination may not be necessary

However, Cichutek pointed out that vaccinations with the current preparations already offer very good protection against serious diseases. Virologist Ulrike Protzer of the University of Munich also said a fourth vaccination with an omicron vaccine may not be necessary for most. “That has to be decided very individually.” For certain groups, such as those with immune deficiencies, it might be recommended, she said. “For many others, it may make more sense to wait and see.”

If a healthy person with triple vaccination comes into contact with the Omicron virus, severe courses are considered very unlikely. In addition, such an infection may have the advantage that future illnesses are then almost ruled out because of the strengthened immune protection.

Cichutek also anticipates that even if booster vaccinations may be needed for certain populations, they can be combined with protection against other diseases, such as influenza, in one agent. “The trend will be, if we know how periodically vaccinations need to be given, to possibly combine that with other vaccinations.”

  • source: k.at/picture: pixabay.com
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