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German vaccine commission recommends Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for adults

German vaccine commission recommends Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for adults

A vial labelled "Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine" is seen in this illustration taken on Jan 16, 2022. (File photo: Reuters/Dado Ruvic)

BERLIN: Germany's expert panel on vaccine use (STIKO) on Thursday (Feb 3) recommended Novavax's protein-based COVID-19 vaccine for basic immunisation for people over 18.

It said a booster shot should be given with an mRNA vaccine, and particularly vulnerable people should also receive a second booster with an mRNA vaccine.

Novavax's vaccine uses a different technology than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna or the Johnson and Johnson shot.

This could convince reluctant Germans, sceptical about the novel mRNA technology and its long-term effects, to take Novavax's more traditional vaccine and boost Germany's vaccination rate.

Germany expects to receive 3.8 million doses of Novavax's Nuvaxovid vaccine by Mar 20 and a total of 34 million doses this year.

STIKO also updated its general recommendation for booster shots and now advises at-risk people and health workers to get a second booster jab against the coronavirus with an mRNA vaccine.

The recommendation comes amid surging coronavirus infections in the country of 83 million.

The Robert-Koch-Institute for infectious diseases reported a record of 236,120 new cases on Thursday.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has warned the numbers could exceed 400,000 by mid-February.

"We have data from Israel that shows a fourth dose significantly improves protection from a severe case of illness," STIKO chief Thomas Mertens told media group Funke in an interview published on Thursday.

Some countries have already started offering additional booster doses, but a recent study from Israel showed that while a fourth dose of an mRNA vaccine boosted antibodies, the level was not high enough to prevent Omicron infection.

STIKO in November recommended a third jab for all adults and last month updated its advice to include everyone older than 12. For ages five to 12, the panel still only recommends a COVID-19 vaccination for children with pre-existing conditions.

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Source: Reuters/ng

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