German COVID Booster Take-Up Low, New Version May Help: Doctors Group

General practitioners were supplied at the start of the week with the booster vaccine directed at the BA.1 version of Omicron and the original virus first detected in China, said Jens Lassen, chairman of their Schleswig-Holstein association.

“We haven’t seen a big jump in demand in the few days we’ve been vaccinating BA.1,” Lassen told reporters in Berlin.

There were definitely patients waiting for a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNtech against the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, he said.

This updated vaccine could be ordered from next week, Lassen said, adding: “We wouldn’t be surprised if demand increased.”

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Monday recommended the COVID-19 booster designed to combat the Omicron BA.4/5 subvariants, days after endorsing a pair of boosters tailored to target the older BA.1 Omicron variant.

However, Emer Cooke, executive director of the EMA, said in a Reuters Next Newsmaker interview that people in Europe should take whatever COVID-19 booster is available to them in the coming months.

It was still confusing to have a choice of three different booster vaccinations, said Ulrich Weigeldt, chairman of the German association of general practitioners.

Weigeldt expected Germany’s vaccine committee, known as STIKO, to issue a recommendation on the various booster vaccinations on Friday.

(Reporting by Paul Carrel; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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