In Austria, booster vaccination against Covid-19 – the fourth prick – is recommended for people as young as 60. The National Immunization Panel (NIG) lowered the age limit from the previous 65 years in its recommendation for use, updated Wednesday. Also, risk persons starting from twelve years are recommended the booster. From the end of August, this should additionally be possible with Valneva’s inactivated vaccine, according to the Ministry of Health.
The change in the four-vaccination schedule follows the approach of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Developments in the pandemic and scientific research would show that older individuals and at-risk groups still have the highest likelihood of severe courses of covid-19.
Starting six months after primary immunization
Booster vaccination should be given no earlier than four months, but in any case, starting six months after completion of primary immunization with three vaccinations or after PCR-confirmed infection. According to the application recommendation, a booster vaccination is still “not generally recommended” for healthy, immunocompetent persons aged twelve to 59 years. However, these individuals should not be denied a booster vaccination upon personal request.
The Ministry of Health expects the first delivery of about 74,000 doses of the vaccine from the Austrian-French manufacturer Valneva in the next two weeks. After that, the vaccine is expected to be ready for use in the provinces’ vaccination lines by August. “The vaccine from Valneva expands the choice once again. It also makes available a well-performing, classical inactivated vaccine against covid-19. I hope this will enable us to reach some people who were previously skeptical of the newly developed mRNA vaccines,” emphasized Health Minister Johannes Rauch.
According to the technical information, the vaccine is administered in two doses 28 days apart and is currently approved for active immunization for 18 to 50 years. It is explained that further boosters or booster doses will also be needed after the first two vaccinations. According to the NIG’s general recommendations, heterologous vaccines can also be used for third and fourth vaccinations – in some cases off-label, i.e., without specific approval for switching to a different vaccine.
- source: kurier.at/picture:pixabay.com
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