Booster shots available 4 weeks after last dose in North Rhine-Westphalia

Booster shots available 4 weeks after last dose in North Rhine-Westphalia

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has announced it will shorten the gap between initial vaccinations and booster shots to just four weeks, starting immediately. 

Booster shots after four weeks in North Rhine-Westphalia

Residents of the most populous German federal state can now book a booster jab four weeks after finishing their initial course of vaccinations against coronavirus. Both state-run and district-run vaccination centres will be offering the booster shots. 

A health ministry spokesperson explained that the move was designed to ensure that no one is turned away from getting their booster shot just because not enough time has elapsed since their last vaccination. 

However, the spokesperson described the four-week interval as a lower limit, rather than a recommendation. The idea is to increase the number of people who can immediately go and get their booster shot. 

Booster shots to help curb spread of Omicron

Up until now, the guidance has generally been that people should wait between five and six months before receiving their booster. However, some experts have suggested shortening this gap, in particular to help curb the spread of the Omicron variant.

Omicron is thought to be much more infectious than the Delta variant. According to recent studies by vaccine developers Pfizer and BioNTech, it is also more likely to cause so-called “breakthrough infections” in vaccinated people - although two jabs have still proven to be effective at preventing severe courses of the disease. 

However, the study found that a third shot does appear to boost protection, with the authors concluding that “a third dose provides a similar level of neutralising antibodies to Omicron as is observed after two doses [for other variants].”



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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