Is it worth the wait? Many people who wanted to refresh their protection against the corona virus have asked themselves this question in recent weeks – because the new vaccines, which are better adapted to the omicron variants, were about to be launched. The time has now come; last Thursday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended approving the Omicron booster. And the vaccine will probably be available at the Ebersberg vaccination center at the end of this week. Spontaneously dropping by for a spade on Friday – but that’s not recommended.
As Laura von Winterfeld, the administration manager of the vaccination center, explains, orders will probably be possible from Monday, and the vaccine is expected to be delivered at the end of the week. However, it still has to be seen how much vaccine you can get, she says – in order to avoid queues and disappointed visitors, the decision was made to return to appointments in the vaccination center – vaccination without an appointment, as it is in the was possible in the past few months, i.e. to suspend it for the time being. Appointments can be made via the Bavarian vaccination portal or via the hotline (08092) 86 31 40.
How the rush develops remains to be seen. So far, interest in the fourth vaccination has been moderate, as von Winterfeld and her team have found. However, there was also an innovation here recently: the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) expanded its recommendation in mid-August; A second booster vaccination is now also considered sensible for people aged 60 and over and people aged five and over with an increased risk of severe Covid-19 courses as a result of an underlying disease.
According to von Winterfeld, in the first few days after the new Stiko recommendation was announced, interest increased significantly – twice as many vaccinations were administered on the first day as on the same day of the previous week – but overall the rush is lower than when the third vaccination. In the second week since the new regulation, the administration manager of the vaccination center observed that there were just as many over 60 vaccinates as customers over 70.
Experts recommend everyone over the age of 60 to have a booster vaccination before autumn. According to von Winterfeld, the doctors who work in the vaccination center usually think so. According to the recommendation, the second booster vaccination should be given six months after the first booster vaccination. The physicians at the Ebersberg Vaccination Center decide whether people under the age of 60 without previous illnesses should also receive a fourth vaccination, if they so wish. “It is up to them to decide whether this makes sense and is necessary in individual cases,” said von Winterfeld. However, the guidelines are the recommendations of the Stiko – and they are currently not advising younger people to get a second booster vaccination. However, so far there have been hardly any inquiries here in the vaccination center, just as little as for booster vaccinations for children.
According to von Winterfeld, the new vaccines adapted to Omikron have often been an issue, and it is not uncommon for people who are basically willing to be vaccinated to say that they want to wait for these new vaccines, says von Winterfeld. Now they will be available soon; the two new vaccines from the companies Biontech/Pfizer and Moderna are adapted both to the original type of Sars-CoV-2 and to the omicron subline BA.1. Experts assume that these vaccines also bring an advantage against the subtype BA.5, which currently dominates in Germany. However, a vaccine adapted to the variants BA.4 and BA.5 should be on the market at the end of September or beginning of October.
The Ebersberg vaccination center is to be operated until the end of the year, according to von Winterfeld, between 40 and 100 people who want to be vaccinated come by on average every day. Vaccination is only done on three days – Wednesday, Friday and Saturday – Wednesdays are currently the busiest, as the head of administration explains, because there can be short waiting times at peak times. It has never happened in Ebersberg that on one day no one wanted to be vaccinated, as is reported from other regions. According to von Winterfeld, 25 customers still came to the vaccination center on the dullest day so far.