B.For a long time there has only been indications that the immune system of vaccinated persons needs to be re-stimulated after a while. Reliable study results on this are still lacking. But the question of how long, in particular, old, needy and immunocompromised vaccinated people can continue to be protected against Covid-19 is urgent. It is so urgent that, for once, the federal and state governments have decided to act early this time. The Conference of Health Ministers decided on Monday that booster vaccinations should be offered nationwide from September onwards.
The procedure is similar to the start of the vaccination campaign in December and January. First of all, a so-called booster should be given to those who, if infected without adequate vaccination protection, have a high risk of a more severe course of the disease. Unlike nine months ago, there is now at least no shortage of vaccine, as the government assures. With the upcoming booster vaccinations, there should be no distribution fights. And without the probing question of who has to cut back for whom in this crisis.
Decrease in effectiveness in the months after vaccination
It has been clear since the beginning of July at the latest that there is a need for action. At that time, the two manufacturers of the most important mRNA vaccine in Germany, BioNTech and Pfizer, publicly drew the first conclusions from an ongoing investigation.
According to a communication from the two companies, it is “likely that a third dose will be required within six to twelve months after full vaccination”. While the protection against a severe course of the disease remains high within the first six months, “a decrease in effectiveness compared to symptomatic courses over time” is expected.
What that means exactly became clear in a further communication at the end of July. Accordingly, the protection against symptomatic infections in the first six months after the final vaccination drops from 96 to 84 percent. Symptomatic courses – that is, infections in which the infected person feels signs of illness – are by no means always dangerous. But when a mild course turns into a severe one, there is a problem. The manufacturer’s report is important because more than three quarters of all fully vaccinated people in Germany received the drug from BioNTech and Pfizer.
On Thursday, the Moderna group announced that its mRNA vaccine was still 93 percent effective four to six months after the second dose. This hardly differs from the 94 percent effectiveness achieved in the original clinical study. With the remedy from Moderna in this country only just under ten percent of people are vaccinated.
One of the constants in the corona crisis policy is that the federal states are responsible for implementing the vaccination campaign. As far as the organization of the vaccinations is concerned, she will soon be going back to the beginning – at least a little.