M.ith the rapid spread of the more contagious Delta variant in Germany, the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) is adapting its vaccination recommendations. For example, people who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca will in future receive an mRNA vaccine such as BioNTech or Moderna as a second injection, regardless of age, the committee announced on Thursday. The interval between the first and second dose should then be at least four weeks. The recommendation applies “subject to the feedback from the comment procedure, which has yet to be opened,” it said.
The experts justify this advice by stating that the immune response after the administration of two different preparations – first vector, then mRNA vaccine – is “clearly superior” to the immune response after two doses of AstraZeneca. Experts speak of a heterologous vaccination schedule. The STIKO had previously only recommended this to younger people who had already received an initial vaccination with AstraZeneca before this vaccine was only recommended for those aged 60 and over who would like to be vaccinated.
The STIKO emphasized that in view of the significantly more contagious Delta variant, it was important to “take the second vaccine dose in good time”. After just one dose of vaccine, protection against Delta appears to be “significantly reduced”. The protection against severe disease courses by Delta is similarly good after full vaccination compared to protection against other corona variants, it said, citing data from the United Kingdom.
The STIKO now recommended the following intervals between the two required vaccine doses: three to six weeks for BioNTech / Pfizer, four to six weeks for Moderna, nine to twelve weeks for AstraZeneca (if someone else should be vaccinated twice with it) and “from four weeks ”with the combination of AstraZeneca and mRNA vaccine.