Drosten: COVID booster shots unnecessary for majority of German population
The prominent German virologist Christian Drosten has said he believes it unnecessary to administer COVID booster shots nationwide this autumn, although top-up jabs could be beneficial for some.
Booster shots only necessary for at-risk groups, says Drosten
With all of Germany’s federal states preparing the ground to start offering booster shots this autumn, and the US planning to roll them out nationwide, Drosten has spoken out to say he thinks the move is largely unnecessary. “The protective effect of the corona vaccines is much better than, for example, the influenza vaccines,” he said, adding that he does not expect a new vaccine-resistant variant of COVID-19 to appear anytime soon.
However, Drosten said that it did make sense to offer a booster vaccination to elderly people and certain high-risk patients. “After six months, the antibody level acquired through vaccination goes down significantly, especially in very old people,” he said. For this reason, it makes sense to refresh vaccinations for certain groups, and then, for the rest of the population, set an age limit beyond which a booster shot would make sense.
Focus should be on first vaccinations - in Germany and abroad
The idea of rolling out a third jab has attracted some vocal criticism, on the basis that some developing countries have so far barely been able to source the supplies to administer a first vaccination, let alone a third one - but Drosten said that the tactic of offering booster shots to at-risk groups only would hardly conflict with the international shortage of vaccines.
He added that, before Germany thinks about offering boosters, it needs to first focus on finishing the rollout of the first wave of vaccinations: “It is important to first close the vaccination gaps among those over 60 years of age,” he said.
This makes sense because the majority of coronavirus patients in German hospitals are currently unvaccinated, according to intensive care doctor Christian Karagiannidis. He told the Funke media group that around 12 to 13 percent of COVID patients in hospital in North Rhine-Westphalia have some level of vaccine protection, while the rest are unvaccinated.