Germany has kicked off its autumn vaccination campaign, focusing on preventing respiratory infections and promoting updated COVID-19 booster shots for the elderly and individuals at high risk of contracting the disease. The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s public health body, stated that its vaccine advisory panel, known as STIKO, re-emphasized the recommendation for booster shots to be administered only to specific at-risk groups beyond the standard COVID-19 vaccination course.
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, who received the booster shot himself, highlighted the importance of vaccination for individuals aged 60 and above, as well as those with pre-existing conditions. In conjunction with the COVID-19 booster shot, the health minister also encouraged individuals to consider receiving an influenza vaccine.
Germany’s approach aligns with other European countries such as France, Italy, and Britain, which are also primarily focusing on administering booster shots to vulnerable groups. The United Kingdom, for instance, prioritizes individuals aged 75 and older, residents of care homes, and immunosuppressed individuals for the new shots.
In contrast, the United States has adopted a more inclusive approach, where updated COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for individuals aged six months and older, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
EU regulators recently granted approval for an updated COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, targeting the XBB.1.5 variant of the Omicron variant. Moderna’s updated vaccine is also expected to receive approval soon.
These vaccination campaigns aim to provide additional protection against the evolving COVID-19 variants, particularly for those most vulnerable to severe illness. Vaccines continue to play a critical role in mitigating the risks associated with the virus and reducing its impact on public health.
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