European countries, including Germany, Hungary and Spain, are looking to step up injections against Covid-19 to combat declining immunity and vaccine reluctance that is leading to a fourth wave of the virus.
The German vaccine advisory committee on Thursday recommended extending the Covid-19 booster vaccine to all adults to tackle soaring infection rates in Europe’s largest economy.
The committee, known as the Standing Committee on Immunization (STIKO), advised that the booster interval period between injections be reduced from six to five months depending on capacity.
It comes as Europe battles the rising tide of Covid-19, with Germany alone recording a daily record of over 65,000 new infections in the past 24 hours, marking the first time it has surpassed 60 000 infections in one day.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that booster shots and masks would be required of healthcare workers in confined spaces, as the country reported its highest number of daily infections since March.
Spain has also said it will expand eligibility for recalls to people over 60 as infections increase. The number of cases from Spain has increased steadily since October, as have those from Austria and the Netherlands.
In the UK, more than 12 million people have received a booster so far and the program has been extended to people aged 40 to 49, as the government resists calls to adopt ‘plan B’ before the ‘winter.
With a peak in infections in December looming across the continent, here’s a look at the extent to which different regions are relying on booster shots to prevent a fourth wave.
The European Union’s medicines regulator recommended in October that people with severely weakened immune systems receive a booster of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines. However, it is up to each EU member state whether or not to administer the recall to those who do not fall under the primary category.
These European countries offer reminders to adults after receiving a full dose of a vaccine:
- Austria, Czech Republic and Germany: 18 years and over
- Hungary and Italy: Pfizer or Moderna reminders for all vaccinees, and for all those who received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
- Malta: 12 years and over
- Norway, Poland, Russia and Romania: Only Pfizer or Moderna boosters are approved
- Serbia, Slovakia and Spain: Pfizer or Moderna recalls for anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
These countries offer boosters to people with weakened immune systems, the elderly or vulnerable:
- Bulgaria, Denmark and Finland: Finland could expand later this fall
- France: Available for over 65s but will be extended to over 50s from December
- Ireland, Italy, Lithuania and the Netherlands: Over 60 years also included in the Netherlands
- Portugal, Slovenia and Spain: Eligibility extended from over 70 to over 60 in Spain
- Sweden: A larger population to get a jab in 2022
- Switzerland: Expect to recommend people under 65 expected in the coming weeks
Back in September, the we The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that people 65 and older would be eligible for the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, in addition to young adults with underlying health conditions or who work in certain institutional settings.
from Canada The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends booster shots of the mRNA-based vaccine for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and who have already received their second dose of the vaccine.
- Morocco: Start of deployment of third doses in October
- Tunisia: Five month interval between second and third dose
- Nigeria: Trying to get booster shots
Asia and Middle East
These countries offer reminders for adults after receiving a full dose:
- Bahrain: Sputnik V, every over 18 at least six months after the second dose
- Cambodia: AstraZeneca
- Indonesia: Issued only to health workers, but extended to a larger population expected in 2022
- Israel: Anyone aged 12 and over
- South Korea: Initial doses to high-risk groups or to people with weakened immune systems
- Turkey and Thailand: AstraZeneca or mRNA-like booster injections in people who have received Sinovac brand
- UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Mandatory reminders for people inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine
- China, Hong Kong and Singapore: Offer boosters to people with weakened immune systems, the elderly or vulnerable
- Began giving Pfizer Covid-19 booster shots in November to fully vaccinated adults
- Brazil and Uruguay: Pfizer booster dose for fully vaccinated adults with Sinovac
- Ecuador and Panama: Offer boosters only to immunocompromised adults
- Chile, Brazil, Dominican Republic and El Salvador: Offer reminders to the elderly, vulnerable and at risk, such as health workers