The German vaccine committee on Thursday recommended that anyone receiving a first dose of AstraZeneca switch to BioNTech-Pfizer or Moderna spikes for better protection against coronavirus, including the Delta variant.
Studies show that the immune response is “clearly superior” when combining a AstraZeneca shot with a second mRNA vaccine, compared to AstraZeneca’s double bites, STIKO said.
Therefore, the commission recommended mixing “regardless of age” and with a minimum gap of four weeks between the two strokes.
The vaccines developed by BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna are based on the same new messenger RNA technology, which enables the body to reproduce cutting-edge proteins, similar to that found in coronavirus.
When exposed to the actual virus later, the body recognizes the proteins in the ear and is able to fight them.
Viral vector vaccines, such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, use a genetic version of a cold-causing adenovirus as a “vector” to transmit genetic instructions to human cells.
Chancellor Angela Merkel had received a second blow from Moderna after receiving an AstraZeneca injection for her first.
Pointing out studies conducted in Britain, STIKO said protection against the Delta variant is reduced “significantly” after a single shot.
“In this context, STIKO points out that it is important to get the second dose of vaccine,” he said.
The travel ban is being reconsidered
Germany expects the Delta variant to take over as the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the country in the coming days.
“I hope that during the month of July we will see Delta account for more than 70 to 80 percent of infections in our country,” Health Minister Jens Spahn told reporters.
The Robert Koch Institute health agency (RKI) reported on Wednesday that the Delta variant, first identified in India, already accounted for 37 per cent of infections in Germany the week to June 20th.
The variant is expected to account for at least half of the new infections this week, experts said.
If the Delta variant becomes dominant in Germany, the so-called coronavirus variant countries could be reclassified, such as Britain and Portugal, most of whose travel is currently banned, according to Spahn.
Given Delta’s growing popularity and research showing that full vaccination protects well against it, “we will analyze the situation in the coming days,” Spahn said.
“If these two things are confirmed, we will be able to treat Portugal and the UK as high-incidence areas,” rather than varying countries, he said.
Only citizens and residents of Germany can enter from a variant country and are subject to forty-two weeks, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or can provide a negative test for COVID-19.
Conversely, anyone can enter from a high-incidence country and can end their quarantine after five days with a negative test.
The current list of countries with variants includes Great Britain, Portugal, India and Russia.
Despite the growing proportion of the Delta variant, the overall incidence in Germany has been steadily declining in recent weeks.
The RKI reported 892 new cases in the last 24 hours on Thursday and an incidence rate of 5.1 new infections per 100,000 people over the past seven days.
But across Europe, the number of new cases rose again last week after a ten-week decline, according to the World Health Organization.
Speaking to the European Parliament, the head of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, also warned of the threat posed by virus variants to the economy.
“The nascent recovery still faces uncertainty, also due to the spread of virus mutations,” he said.
© 2021 AFP
Citation: Germany recommends combination vaccines for better protection (2021, July 1) retrieved July 1, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-germany-vaccine.html
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