Vaccination does not protect against BA.5 variant – experts warn

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Although the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are still in the minority, they are constantly on the rise. Experts from Austria and Germany sound the alarm.

South Africa is already amid a new wave of BA.4 and BA.5, and in Portugal, corona numbers are also skyrocketing due to omicron subvariants. In Austria and Germany, they still account for a small percentage of new infections – at least for now.

Molecular biologist Ulrich Elling, for example, warned the days before a new wave in Austria in July and showed on Twitter with the help of graphics that the BA.5 proportion doubles from week to week. A rapid increase. The measures against it: The National Vaccination Panel is discussing lowering the age recommendation for the fourth vaccine dose from 80 to 65. In Vienna, the second Booster has been recommended starting from 65 years and other at-risk groups. All others, however, are not to be pricked again until the fall with the adapted variant vaccine.

Viennese virologist Norbert Nowotny explained the reason in an interview with “Heute”: “We now know that immunity does not last very long with the Omicron sub-variants.” One is talking about just three or four months here, he said. “So it makes sense to get a booster shot relatively close to the expected fall and winter wave because then we’ll just be well protected for those three to four months.”

However, this does not mean that no one is currently immune to BA.5. “At the moment, it looks like those who have recently been infected with BA.2 are quite well immune to BA.5,” virologist Martin Stürmer assessed the current situation, according to “Hessenschau.” However, those whose infection with BA.1 or older variants already long past lies, “which can become infected and also again more seriously ill,“ warns it.

The same applies to the vaccination: “It protects less, the longer it lies back.”

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