UK, Germany weighing potential fourth COVID shot, second booster
Both Germany and the United Kingdom are weighing a decision on administering fourth COVID-19 vaccine doses to select groups in their populations as the omicron variant surges across Europe, according to multiple reports.
Pediatric professor Adam Finn at the University of Bristol in the U.K. who is a member of Britain’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said last week, “I think there will be people probably who will receive a fourth jab. Whether that will be everyone, I think, is still very much in doubt … We do need to see how things go through this wave and beyond,” according to The Guardian.
Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, who is also a physician and scientist, stated that he believes a fourth COVID-19 vaccine, a second booster, will be necessary, according to Politico Europe.
“Personally, I would expect a fourth vaccination,” said Lauterbach when speaking on a German radio station. He also stated last week that he “would assume” that the fourth shot “will be necessary.”
But Lauterbach added that the jury was still out on the scientific evidence linked to protection from an additional booster.
Israel began its trial on the effectiveness of a fourth vaccine dose Monday, giving health care workers who were initially boosted in August a second booster. The trial participants will be followed for six months to evaluate the booster’s effectiveness.
The German Health Minister has raised concerns about potential vaccine shortages, so the country’s potential to administer fourth shots — if deemed beneficial or needed — could be limited, Politico Europe notes.
Third doses of coronavirus vaccines are widely distributed throughout European countries; however, only Israel has announced plans for a fourth dose, which would be a second booster shot.
The fourth dose, if and once approved by Health Ministry Director Nachman Ash, will be administered to people who are immunocompromised, health care workers, and anyone aged 60 or older.
Last week, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticized wealthier nations’ push for booster programs.
“Enough vaccines were administered globally this year that the 40 percent target could have been reached in every country by September, if those vaccines had been distributed equitably, through COVAX and AVAT. No country can boost its way out of the pandemic,” he said last Wednesday.
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