When it comes to the vaccine from AstraZeneca, criteria such as age, pre-existing conditions or occupational group will no longer play a role. This was announced by Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) on Thursday, releasing the vaccine for all groups. In addition to this release, the interval between the first and second vaccination with the vaccine from AstraZeneca is also to be shortened in the future. Whereas at the beginning of the vaccination campaign it was stated that the vaccine would only guarantee optimum efficacy 12 weeks after the first vaccination, it will now be possible to have the second vaccination after just four weeks.
Booked vaccination appointments are only postponed in absolutely exceptional cases
The shortening of the period between two vaccinations by up to eight weeks also has an impact on the Munich Vaccination Center in Riem and the general practitioners. Increasingly, there are now requests from patients who want to postpone their already booked second vaccination appointment with AstraZeneca.
In this context, the Munich Health Department clarifies that agreed appointments for AstraZeneca second vaccinations at the Vaccination Center Riem will only be postponed in absolutely exceptional cases."Based on the information from the Robert Koch Institute and the current study situation, we consider it advisable not to fall below the interval of 9 weeks between the first and second vaccine doses in order not to impair the effectiveness of the vaccination. Therefore, at the Vaccination Center Riem, the scheduled appointments with AstraZeneca after 9 or 12 weeks for the administration of the second vaccination remain in place. It is also a logistical challenge to manually reschedule appointments in view of up to 7,000 vaccinations daily at the Munich vaccination center alone," says health officer Beatrix Zurek.
The appointments for the first and second vaccination are firmly scheduled by the BayIMCO system at the specified, optimal interval. The system assigns the dates automatically and the vaccines for the second vaccination are planned and held at the vaccination center accordingly. Postponement by the person to be vaccinated himself is not possible in the system. This can only be done by the call center. If a second vaccination is to be postponed for medical reasons, the relevant evidence must be provided for this.
The shorter the interval between vaccinations, the lower the protective effect
"Patients often vehemently ask their doctors to postpone the second vaccination. However, from a medical point of view, shortening the interval between vaccinations is not recommended, as scientific findings show that the effectiveness of the vaccination is then significantly poorer. If the vaccination interval is less than 6 weeks, the effectiveness is about 55 percent. If it is at least 12 weeks, the effect is over 80 percent. From a medical point of view, work-related reasons or a planned vacation are not comprehensible reasons for postponement," explains Dr. Markus Frühwein, one of the three medical coordinators of the city of Munich.
Bavaria's health minister blows the same horn: "You have to be aware: The longer the interval between the first and second vaccination, the higher the proven effect," said Klaus Holetschek after the conference of health ministers on Thursday.
Image by Ali Raza