The first vaccine manufacturers are examining whether they have to adapt their vaccines because of Omikron. And many people are now wondering whether they should wait with the booster. For experts, the answer is obvious.

Taskforce President Tanja Stadler spoke out in favor of the third dose at an extraordinary media conference on November 29th. This is important both in view of the currently prevailing delta variant, but also in view of Omikron.

That's

  • Get vaccinated now or wait until a vaccine adapted to Omikron is available?

  • According to experts, there is only one answer to this question.

  • You are unanimously in favor of vaccination in general and the booster with the available vaccines.

How well the approved corona vaccines work against the Omikron variant is still open. Accordingly, it is also unclear whether the vaccines need to be adapted. Moderna boss Stephane Bancel assumes that the effectiveness will not be as high as that of the Delta mutant. “I think it's going to be a significant drop. I just don't know how much because we have to wait for the data. ”

Manfred Kopf, task force member and professor for molecular biomedicine at ETH Zurich, also expects reduced effectiveness. To what extent the protection against infection decreases with the Omikron variant in the completely vaccinated or recovered, he is not yet able to say due to a lack of data: “If we are lucky, the immune protection is only marginally impaired than with rampant Delta variants. »

Wanting to wait is a« crazy idea »

The manufacturers of the mRNA vaccines do not want to wait and see what the data will ultimately show: Both Moderna and Biontech are already working on a vaccine adapted to Omikron – as a preventative measure in the event that it becomes necessary, according to the DPA news agency. But even if the mRNA-based vaccines can be adapted more quickly than other types of vaccines, optimized vaccines cannot be expected before spring. Because even large-scale production takes time.

Accordingly, those wishing to vaccinate should not wait for vaccines adapted to Omikron, but rather get immunized with the currently available ones as soon as possible, advise experts. Because: “Delta is still dominant and we can hardly cope with it,” says the Austrian molecular biologist Martin Moder. This is how Taskforce President Tanja Stadler sees it (see video above): “It is the delta variant that will determine the number of cases, the hospital burden and infections in schools by Christmas.” Waiting for the adapted version is a “crazy idea”, according to Moder. First of all, it is important to protect yourself as best you can from the prevailing mutant.

According to experts, the vaccines currently available are also important in the fight against the omicron mutant.

«Vaccinated people don't start from scratch»

Protection from Delta also provides protection from Omikron. “All people who get vaccinated do not start from scratch when they are infected with a new variant,” quoted Tagesschau.de Lothar Wieler, President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). In any case, you would already have a certain degree of vaccination protection.

The explanation for this is provided by Leif Erik Sander, immunologist at Charité Berlin, and Moder. At Omikron, there are many changes in places where the best antibodies can bind, says Sander. “But: Even less effective ones can make a big difference if antibody levels are high enough,” says Moder. The third dose would take care of that: “After the booster (RNA on RNA), the antibody levels are around eight to fifteen times higher. Whatever the ability to neutralize Omikron remains – the booster will make more of it. »

Hope also rests on T cells

Both experts also point to the T cells, which recognize different sites of the Sars-CoV-2 spike protein than the antibodies. Although these did not protect against infection, they did protect against severe disease. “I assume that some T-cell recognition sites have also been retained in Omikron,” says Moder. «Not least because there is much less evolutionary pressure on it.»

«It's better to be vaccinated. And it's even better when you're boosted. “

Christian Drosten, virologist at Charité Berlin

Christian Drosten from Charité Berlin sums up on ZDF what that means for each individual:” Nobody can say at the moment what is in store for us. But what you can really say with certainty: It's better to be vaccinated. And it's even better when you're boosted. ”

Do you or does someone you know have problems with the Corona period?

You can find help here:

BAG-Infoline Coronavirus, Tel. 058 463 00 00

BAG-Infoline Covid-19 vaccination, Tel. 058 377 88 92

Dureschnufe.ch, platform for mental health related to Corona

Safezone.ch, anonymous online advice on addiction issues

Industry Aid.ch, Advice for affected economic sectors

Pro Juventute, advice for children and young people, Tel. 147

Dargebotene Hand, Worry-Hotline, Tel. 143

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By Teresa Tapmleton

Teresa Tampleton has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Nizh TEkegram, Teresa Tampleton worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teresa@ntelegram.com 1-800-268-7341

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