Germany’s vaccine advisory committee recommended COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for all people aged over 18 on Thursday as the number of coronavirus infections hits a new record in Europe’s largest economy.
The committee, known as STIKO, said it also recommends booster shots to be administered with an mRNA vaccine and that a booster should be given six months after the last vaccine dose.
A shortening of the vaccination interval to five months can be considered in individual cases or if there is enough capacity, it added.
The head of Germany’s disease control agency has warned that the country faces a “really terrible Christmas” unless steps are taken to counter the sharp rise in coronavirus infections.
German lawmakers are debating measures today that would replace the nationwide epidemic rules, which will expire at the end of the month.
The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s disease control agency, said Thursday that 65,371 newly confirmed cases had been reported in a single day, continuing the upward trend that experts have been warning about for weeks. It is another new daily record.
“We are currently heading toward a serious emergency,” the agency’s director, Lothar Wieler, said. “We are going to have a really terrible Christmas if we don’t take countermeasures now.”
Wieler said Germany needs to increase its vaccination rates to significantly above 75%, from 67.7% at present. Some regions in Germany have vaccination rates as low as 57.6%.
He warned that hospitals across Germany are struggling to find beds for COVID-19 patients and those with other illnesses.
He also called for the closure of clubs and bars, an end to large-scale events and access to many parts of public life to be limited to those with vaccine or recovery certificates.
Photo – A sign informs customers to keep hygiene regulations at the closed Christmas Market at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Germany. EPA-EFE/FILIP SINGER
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