Berlin / Brussels (dpa) – Despite the decision of the EU medicines authority EMA to use Astrazeneca without restrictions, in some countries – including Germany – the corona vaccine is only vaccinated for older citizens.
What the EMA did can be justified with certainty, infection immunologist Christian Bogdan said in an online discussion in the Science Media Center last night. “But what the Stiko did can certainly be justified in the same way,” said Bogdan, a member of the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko).
The Stiko had only recommended the Astrazeneca vaccine from the age of 60. One reason was the occurrence of cerebral venous thrombosis in 1 to 2 of 100,000 vaccinated younger women in Germany. There were also few cases in men in Germany, but 2.5 times more women have been vaccinated with Astrazeneca across the country for the first time. Bogdan said the EMA decision will certainly be an issue at one of the next Stiko meetings.
EU Health Commissioner Stelle Kyriakides called on EU countries on Wednesday evening at a video conference of national health ministers to take a coordinated approach to increase public confidence. “Our decisions must now be based on the scientific work of the EMA and a thorough, ongoing assessment of the risks and benefits.” The Portuguese Presidency of the EU countries also called on the Member States to adopt as coordinated a position as possible. Portuguese Health Minister Marta Temido said: “This is a technical decision. It is not a political decision. “We must not forget that individual decisions affect everyone.
In the first countries, after the announcement of the EMA yesterday afternoon, decisions have already been taken on the further use of the Astrazeneca preparation. Italy has changed its guidelines – as in Germany, Astrazeneca is now only recommended for people over 60. This was announced by the president of the Supreme Health Institute (CTS), Franco Locatelli. In Austria, the National Vaccination Commission spoke out in favor of following the EMA’s recommendation.
Meanwhile, virologist Hendrik Streeck was surprised by Stiko’s advice to offer people in Germany a second vaccination with Biontech or Moderna after vaccination with Astrazeneca. “The clinical trials have not yet started. I think it is necessary to stick to the rules and see if the studies are successful, ”he told the“ Fuldaer Zeitung ”(Thursday). But he thinks it’s an “understandable” decision not to vaccinate Astrazeneca in people under 60 – even if the vaccine itself is good and safe.
The Stiko had recommended that people under 60 who had already received a first corona vaccination with the Astrazeneca preparation before the second vaccination should switch to another drug. Experts suggest that the very low risk of cerebral vein thrombosis affects younger people. De Stiko recommended that an mRNA vaccine be given as a second dose. Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines are approved in Germany.
Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) yesterday wanted to advise all his country colleagues about the second vaccinations for young people who had been vaccinated with the active substance of Astrazeneca. Initially nothing was known about a result.
The chairman of the Stiko, Thomas Mertens, told the “Rheinische Post” (Thursday) of the recommendation for a second vaccination: “The protection against Covid-19 decreases after a certain time with a single Astrazeneca vaccination.” Mertens said a second vaccination with a different vaccine could even lead to a better protective effect.
The EU medicines agency EMA yesterday unconditionally recommended the use of Astrazeneca. The benefits must be estimated higher than the risks, the EMA in Amsterdam explains. However, the British Vaccination Commission changed its recommendation: in the future, the preparation should only be given to people over 30 if possible.
Stiko boss Mertens also told Augsburger Allgemeine that the Stiko and Robert Koch Institute wanted to explore proposals to extend the distance to the second vaccination for Biontech and Moderna funds for a larger number of first vaccinations. “Stiko and RKI are also working intensively on this question and want to arrive at a scientifically sound statement.”
However, the virologist Klaus Überla, who also belongs to the Stiko, was skeptical. “In my opinion, indications of declining efficacy starting six weeks after Biontech mRNA immunization support this proposal,” he told Augsburger Allgemeine. De Stiko recently recommended a six-week interval with Biontech and Moderna for the second vaccination. SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach and other scientists had called for a change of course over Easter weekend towards as many short-term first-time vaccinations as possible.