German health minister urges over-60s to get second COVID booster ahead of autumn
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has urged everyone over the age of 60 to get a second COVID booster shot to help protect them over the autumn and winter. The government is set to present its autumn COVID strategy in mid-September, after weeks of consistently high infection rates.
Over-60s in Germany urged to get second booster jab
Speaking to RTL Nachtjournal, Lauterbach urged over-60s not to wait for vaccines adapted to new virus variants to be approved, but to take advantage of the current opportunities as soon as possible. “If those who are older and actually need a second booster vaccination wait until a new vaccine is available, it may be too late,” he said.
Results from the US show that a second booster vaccination reduces mortality among risk groups like the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. “That’s why I advise every old person to get the vaccine now, then you’re safe,” he said. He said the government was awaiting the arrival of new adapted vaccines in “September or October” to help determine a vaccination strategy for the autumn.
German Health Ministry preparing autumn COVID strategy
The health minister previously warned of a “catastrophic” situation if no measures were implemented to contain the pandemic before the colder months. “If we went into the autumn like we are now, without further protective measures, without masks, without anything, then that would mean that the number of cases would rise sharply, but that intensive care units would be overloaded,” he said on a recent visit to Washington.
He explained that rising cases of coronavirus would put pressure on the healthcare system, and particularly hospitals, by increasing the number of patients seeking care, while also reducing staffing levels with doctors and nurses on sick leave due to infections. “It’s like a candle that burns at both ends,” he said.
The government is currently in negotiations with the Ministry of Justice to prepare a new coronavirus strategy to replace the current measures, which are set to expire on September 23. Germany has been posting consistently high infection rates for many weeks now - even with a large number of cases going unreported - of more than 100.000 new cases each day, and around 100 deaths.