As Covid infection rates in Austria rise, politicians and health experts are debating whether a fourth dose of the vaccine should be given as soon as this summer. Austria is considering recommending a fourth dose as Covid numbers rise.
Austria reported an increase in Covid-19 infection numbers, with an alarming upward trend, prompting experts and authorities to consider recommending a 4th dose of the vaccine before the upcoming autumn booster campaign.
Despite the fact that the figure is far lower than the nearly 70,000 reported just 45 days ago, the recent upward trend at a time when cases should be stable or decreasing over the summer is cause of concern.
“For several weeks, the number of fresh infections has been decreasing, as has the number of people admitted to hospitals as a result of Covid-19. “This is good news,” said Greens Health Minister Johannes Rauch shortly after the Ministry announced that the use of FFP2 masks would be “paused.”
The masks were supposed to be reintroduced after the summer, assuming fewer cases.
According to the Ministry, there are currently 470 Covid-19 patients in hospitals and 39 in intensive care units. Approximately 64% of the population possesses a valid vaccination document. Despite the vaccines expiring and so many people fail to take their booster dose, the number continues to fall.
The increase happens to coincide with the revocation of almost all Covid-19 restrictions. The only remaining regulation other than the medical sector is in Vienna, in which people must wear an FFp2 mask on public transportation. Those who test positive must also be quarantined for at least five days.
Is the fourth vaccination dose mandatory for everyone?
As the number of corona cases rise, Austria’s Health Minister Rauch and GECKO crisis coordinator Katharina Reich are asking vulnerable people to get immunized.
“There will be no respite this summer.” There is no coherence. In the autumn, vulnerable groups should be vaccinated at least twice. “Anyone who has had three vaccinations should get boosters 8 weeks before the autumn wave,” Reich said
The National Vaccination Committee (NIG) of Austria is currently recommending a 4th dose of the Covid vaccine, but only for those at high risk of serious illness. People over the age of 80, as well as those aged 65 to 79, who have a weakened immune system or pre-existing health conditions, are classified as risk groups by the NIG.
The committee is considering lowering the recommended age to 65 even for people with no other health conditions. The fourth dose is already available off-label in Vienna to people over the age of 65 or anyone who wishes to take it after clinical risk-benefit analysis.
Anyone, including children, who want max immune protection at all times, according to clinical pharmacologist Markus Zeitlinger of MedUni Vienna, should get vaccinated right away. He advised people not to put off getting a life jacket because a summer storm is approaching.
He claims there are no medical reasons to avoid vaccinations in June and October. No further vaccination is currently recommended if you have had 3 vaccinations and a PCR test confirms an infection.
What should be done as the infection rises?
Dorothea van Laer of the University of Innsbruck advised people to wear masks during the summer in an interview with the ZIB2 program.
It was especially important for those who regularly worked with vulnerable people, she said. Those who had not yet received their third dose were also encouraged to do so. Van Laer also chastised Austrians for their ignorance of immunity, stating:
“No representative study on Austrian population contamination exists.” We’re not even sure if we have a problem, or if, like in England, 99% of the population already has antibodies and some level of immunity to severe illness.”