Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach welcomed the green light from the European Medicines Agency for two new corona vaccines as a “quantum leap in the fight against the pandemic”.
“Now vaccines can be used that work very well against all previously known virus variants,” said the SPD politician on Thursday. Vaccination with the new vaccines could start next week. “Now is the best time to close vaccination gaps for the fall.”
The Munich infectiologist and corona expert Clemens Wendtner contradicts Lauterbach. He criticizes the long time it takes for the new Omikron vaccine to be approved as an imminent setback for the willingness to vaccinate. “I don’t think that the new vaccine will become a game changer, i.e. that the situation can really turn around,” said the Munich chief physician of the “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Friday edition). “You can see with the naked eye that the new vaccine comes too late,” he criticized. Currently, the BA.1 variant, against which the new agents are supposed to provide particularly good protection, can hardly be detected in Germany.
“Slowly it is becoming apparent to many that the new vaccine does not fully deliver what is suggested,” said Wendtner. Although the modified vaccine will work to a certain extent against the BA.4 and BA.5 mutations, the previous preparation has already done so. “Many people have been waiting for this supposedly better vaccine,” the doctor knows from everyday life. But people with previous illnesses in particular would have been better advised if they had gotten a second booster vaccination with the existing vaccines.
He does not believe that the recently weakened willingness to vaccinate in the country is picking up again, said Wendtner. The doctor warned risk groups not to wait for the Omikron BA.4/5 adapted vaccine: “I would advise anyone whose vaccination was a long time ago or who has not yet been boosted to be vaccinated – also with the previous vaccines,” explained he. “Waiting is therefore not advisable,” emphasized the Corona expert.