Second dose of vaccination later? UK strategy experts

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The vaccination against the coronavirus has been taking place in Germany since Sunday, December 27th. The active ingredient from Biontech and Pfizer is already in short supply: after the first batches of the vaccine had been administered in the federal states, it was announced on Wednesday that the next batch, consisting of 668,000 vaccine doses, would not be delivered to the federal states until January 11th should. That comes from an internal government report that has. After criticism from the federal states, the Ministry of Health responded on Wednesday evening, December 30th – but the next vaccine delivery will not arrive in the federal states until January 8th.

So it will be a while before a kind of normality can return to Germany. In addition, everyone who is vaccinated has to be given two doses of the vaccine – three weeks apart. This is to ensure the complete immunity of the vaccinated, according to the website of the Federal Ministry of Health. In Great Britain, where the second vaccine received emergency approval from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca on Wednesday 30 December, the distribution of the two vaccine doses is handled differently.

UK focus on first dose of vaccine

The British Committee for Vaccines, the JCVI, recommended there to first ensure that as many Britons as possible initially only a Get the vaccine dose – according to the JCVI recommendation, you should wait up to twelve weeks with the second dose. “The JCVI advises that priority should be given to vaccinating more people with the first dose first – instead of offering the second dose to others,” said the committee’s statement. Could that also be a strategy for Germany in view of the scarce vaccination doses?

In any case, the first experts also speak out in favor of it in this country. “The data have shown that after the first vaccination, the majority of people are protected from the serious illness, so over 50 percent are protected,” said the head of the Institute of Virology at the Bonn University Hospital, Hendrik Streeck, the “RTL Night Journal “. “And if you give the second booster vaccination – as we call it – the booster vaccination later, you could actually double the vaccination capacity with the first batches of the vaccination doses.” This decision is not an easy one, said Streeck. “But it would be a way to vaccinate more people quickly.”

According to the US FDA, the effectiveness of Biontech / Pfizer’s Covid vaccine is 52.4 percent after the first dose. Because the protective effect of this first vaccination sets in two weeks after administration, it is recommended to concentrate on it first, according to the British JCVI. That strategy would have the best public health impact in the short term – and save more lives.

British strategy “definitely worth considering”

Besides Hendrik Streeck, there are other experts in Germany who are at least thinking out loud about the “British way”. One of them is Thomas Mertens, the chairman of the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO). Basically, two vaccinations should be given, he says. “Since the interval between the two vaccinations can very likely vary within wide limits and the protection is already very good even after a vaccination, it is definitely worth considering giving the first vaccination first if there is a lack of vaccines.” However, this is an additional challenge concerning the planning of the second vaccination – which would then be postponed, but of course still has to be done at some point.

Peter Kremsner is even more in favor of administering a second dose later. He is the director of the Institute for Tropical Medicine at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen. In Germany, the approval requirements mean that the second dose of the Biontech / Pfizer vaccine must be administered after three weeks. But: “In principle, the British approach makes a lot of sense,” says Kremsner.

“As with other vaccinations, you can probably give the second dose after two to three months, since the first dose seems to be very effective,” the scientist explains. Assuming the effect of the first dose of vaccine does not decrease rapidly over time, vaccination number two could also be used still take place later, he says – “for example only after six months.” However, it has not been scientifically validated, explains Kremsner. “We do not know that, yet. This is also done with other vaccines. “


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