German vaccine commission to recommend fourth COVID-19 shot

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People wait in a line, for their vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in front of a vaccination centre in Munich, Germany, January 27, 2022. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

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BERLIN, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Germany's expert panel on vaccine use (STIKO) is preparing to recommend a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose, the committee's head, Thomas Mertens, told media group Funke on Thursday.

"We have data from Israel that shows a fourth dose significantly improves protection from a severe case of illness," Mertens told Funke. "The STIKO will make the recommendation soon," he added.

The panel would recommend booster shots only with vaccines that are already available, Mertens added.

On vaccines that have been adapted to work against the Omicron coronavirus variant, STIKO would have to wait for clinical data from Moderna (MRNA.O) and Pfizer-BioNTech, the media group cited Mertens as saying.

Some countries have already started offering additional booster doses, but a recent study from Israel showed that while a fourth dose of an mRNA vaccine boosted antibodies, the level was not high enough to prevent Omicron infection. read more

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Reporting by Zuzanna Szymanska; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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