Here's why the third corona vaccine is getting closer and closer

"Do you already have the date for the third vaccination?" As yet, such questions sound absurd, but that is likely to change soon: Experts believe that as early as this fall, the first German citizens will receive an Third dose Corona vaccine will get. More still: Because the Vaccine Protection Since the virus does not last forever and will continue to change, physicians and virologists expect that Corona vaccinations will become a regular routine in the next few years.

Corona vaccine protection wears off after some time

Like many other vaccines, vaccines against the corona virus need to be refreshed after some time. Unlike the tetanus vaccine or the flu shot, however, it is not yet known exactly when vaccine protection will be effective in the Corona vaccines abates. For this, the vaccination campaign has not yet lasted long enough.

But there is already evidence from studies, "I ame that the Immunity after a vaccination against Covid-19 six months holds," said the physician and SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach to this editorial office. "The first booster will therefore be due for some already in the fall."

Corona vaccination: booster after six to twelve months

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla also believes a third dose will likely be needed within six to 12 months. However, it is also possible that this could happen earlier: if mutations against which the current vaccines are not as effective were to spread in Germany, "we might have to start with an adapted vaccine earlier," Lauterbach said.

Against the South African variant, for example, vaccines from Astrazeneca and JohnsonJohnson not so good. Mutation still plays little role in this country. But that can change: "If this variant becomes widespread in our country, the people affected should then be the first to be immunized better." Read in addition:Corona: This is how effective the vaccines are in the case of mutations

In the case of pre-existing conditions, a "booster" could be necessary at an earlier stage

The Standing Commission on Vaccination (Stiko) has not yet recommended a booster vaccination: "At the moment, there is not enough data to say when a booster vaccination might be necessary," said virologist Thomas Mertens to this editorial team.

Here's why the third corona vaccine is getting closer and closer

Stiko chairman, however, already has certain groups in mind: "We will certainly have to wait a few more months to see whether it is possible that the vaccination protection is already weakening again in individual groups, or was generally too weak. This could affect individual age groups or also people with certain Pre-existing conditions."

In patients whose immune defenses are controlled by medication, or after transplantation, it could be that the built-up immune protection is too weak and a third dose is needed in the short term.

Drosten: Give third dose along with flu shot

Also the Berlin virologist Christian Drosten Anticipates that certain groups should be generously revaccinated against Covid-19 in the fall depending on age and risk. He envisages combining this with immunization against influenza.

"Someone who is at risk for influenza is at risk for Covid," he said." It is to be feared that the next Flu wave will be severe if not countered with vaccinations.

Lauterbach: "Will have to vaccinate regularly in the next few years"

Most experts agree that this year's Corona vaccinations will not be the last. The Corona protection will still be necessary for a long time: "It will certainly not stop at a booster," says Lauterbach.

"The corona virus and its mutants will continue to occupy us for the foreseeable future. We will see in the next few years regularly need to be vaccinated against Covid-19."Stiko chief Mertens also sees it that way: "The virus will not leave us again. The current Corona vaccinations will therefore not be the last."

Basically, German citizens would have to be prepared for the fact that possibly next year everyone will have to refresh their vaccination protection. Manufacturers said they were already working on modified vaccines, which are supposed to be effective against relevant currently known mutants. It therefore makes sense to boost production of Covid-19 vaccines in Germany as well, he said.

Children under 12 are still without vaccination protection for a long time

In the fall, the situation becomes complicated even without dangerous mutations: While some may already need the third vaccination, children under 12 are probably still completely without vaccination protection. "The disease will not have disappeared in the fall," warns Drosten. Unvaccinated persons would continue to be infected and fall ill.

He finds the situation of still unvaccinated smaller children particularly tricky: many Adults would have their vaccination six months behind them in the fall, and their protection would weaken. The risk of the vaccinated adults contracting the disease themselves is less important than the risk of the virus being passed on to children. Studies on vaccination of younger children are complicated and take time, he said. "I'm not so sure you can vaccinate younger children that quickly," Drosten said.

EU orders 1.8 billion vaccine doses for coming years

Germany and the EU are already preparing to have enough vaccine for boosters even after the first wave of immunizations is over. The federal government wants to ensure that the country can supply itself with vaccine from its own production facilities as early as next year.

The European Union is buying up to 1.8 billion More doses of Corona vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer. The aim is to protect the 70 to 80 million children in the EU against Covid-19 by 2023 and to update adult vaccinations.

Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced that more agreements could follow. The major new contract is worth up to 35 billion euros and means further investment in Germany and Belgium.

For Refreshers and the Inoculation of children the commission estimates that about 700 million cans will be needed in 2022 and 2023 combined. If a mutation of the virus occurs against which the current vaccinations do not help, it would take 640 million doses to completely re-immunize 70 percent of the EU population.

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