For members


Reader question: Can I get a second Covid booster jab in Germany?

The number of Covid infections in Germany is rising. Some people are wondering if they can - or should - get a second booster jab if their previous vaccination was several months ago.

People queue for a Covid vaccination in Stuttgart in winter.
People queue for a Covid vaccination in Stuttgart in winter. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Weißbrod

In February this year, Germany’s Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) recommended that risk groups get a fourth Covid vaccination – or second booster shot. 

However, because most people got their booster vaccination several months ago, many are wondering if they should get another jab, especially as there’s a fresh resurgence of Covid infections.

Here’s a look at what we know so far, and the official recommendations. 

Who is officially eligible for a second vaccine booster in Germany?

STIKO currently recommends the fourth Covid-19 vaccination for people aged 70 and over, residents in care homes or similar facilities, staff in medical facilities and care institutions, and people with immune deficiencies. 

The government has been pushing for vulnerable groups to get their second jab, especially as Covid cases rise. 

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach recently urged all at-risk groups and people over the age of 60 to get a second booster jab. 

The Local asked the Health Ministry if other groups of people should get the vaccine now. They told us that there was only an official recommendation for risk groups, and that a possible announcement on further jabs for the general population would only come after summer.

“Since it is not yet possible to foresee which variants will be predominant in autumn, the STIKO considers a renewed statement on a possible general second booster vaccination would only make sense after the summer of 2022,” said the Health Ministry spokesman.

However, Lauterbach also recommended in June that everyone get a fourth Covid vaccination if they want it.

“By voluntarily wearing a mask indoors and getting a fourth vaccination, you can make your own summer a lot better,” he told broadcaster ZDF.

Lauterbach said he was offering this advice because of the emergence of the newer Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5. “Unfortunately, you can get infected with BA.4 and BA.5, even if you were already infected with BA.1 and BA.2,” he said.

READ ALSO: Germany’s planned changes to Covid vaccination status 

How can I get the jab if I want it?

Anecdotally, we’ve heard that some vaccination points are offering a second booster shot to people who want it – even if they don’t fall into one of the risk groups. People in Germany can generally be given a jab if the last injection was more than three months ago. 

We recommend that you talk with your healthcare provider if you are unsure about what to do. Several doctors practices are also offering the Covid-19 jab and will be able to advise patients. 

Isn’t there going to be an Omicron-specific vaccine?

Lauterbach has said that he expects vaccines adapted to the Omicron variant to become available in Germany in September. 

However, on June 30th he urged people – especially risk groups – to get a second booster shot as soon as possible rather than waiting.

He said: “In nursing homes, 70 percent of residents lack a fourth vaccination. It should be done now. It takes too long to wait for adapted vaccines. Current vaccines are very safe and reliably reduce mortality in facilities. Hesitation can be fatal.”

As of July 5th, at least 63.4 million people (76.2 percent of the total population) in Germany have received two Covid vaccinations, and at least 51.3 million people (61.7 percent) have received one or two booster vaccinations, according to official figures. 

READ ALSO: German doctors call for ’empty’ vaccination centres to close

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For members


What to know about getting a fourth Covid vaccination in Germany

With Covid cases rising, many people in Germany are wondering if they should get a fourth Covid jab - or second booster. Here's what you should keep in mind.

What to know about getting a fourth Covid vaccination in Germany

German states have started giving out new Covid vaccines that are specially adapted to the Omicron variant.

Though the Omicron variant is believed to cause milder courses of illness than earlier variants like Delta, it’s known for being highly transmissible and is often able to evade the body’s immune responses. 

In September, three Omicron vaccines received EU-wide approval: two vaccines from BioNTech and Moderna adapted to the BA.1 sub-variant, and another Omicron booster from BioNTech to protect against the dominant BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants. 

Who should get the fourth Covid shot (second booster)?

People who belong to ‘at risk’ groups should think about getting a booster shot this autumn.

The official recommendation from the Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) stipulates that people over the age of 60 should get a further booster vaccination.

In addition, people over the age of 12 who have an underlying condition that can lead to severe illness with Covid-19 should also get a shot.

Experts also recommend that residents and staff in nursing homes or long-term care facilities receive a fourth jab.

READ ALSO: When – and how – people can get the new Omicron vaccine in Germany

In STIKO’s latest guidance dated September 20th, experts also say that it may be appropriate for people at particular risk, for instance the very elderly or people with immunodeficiency, to get another shot (a fifth jab) after the fourth vaccination, although that would depend on several factors and a medical consultation. 

A Covid test centre in Rostock, northern Germany.

A Covid test centre in Rostock, northern Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Wüstneck

Should people under the age of 60 get a fourth jab?

If people don’t fall into a risk group and are under the age of 60, they can still receive a fourth vaccination, although it’s not officially recommended. You should have a consultation with your GP – or a doctor carrying out Covid vaccinations – if you are interested in getting the fourth jab. 

How do vaccination centres handle people under 60 who want to get another Covid shot?

There have been occasional reports in Germany that younger people who don’t belong to a risk group have been turned away from vaccination centres because they don’t qualify for a booster jab. 

However, The Local has anecdotally heard that people have been able to get a jab from a vaccination station or centre, regardless of their health condition or age.

A spokesperson at the health department of the city Munich told broadcaster BR24 that carrying out a fourth vaccination is decided on a case-by-case basis and is a decision taken by the medical expert giving out the jab “in each case”.

Where is the fourth vaccination available? 

There are still lots of walk-in vaccination centres across the country, while many doctors and pharmacies also carry out jabs. You should search online or contact your GP for more information. 

Many towns and cities are reporting a significant increase in demand since the new vaccines adapted for Omicron variants became available.

READ ALSO: Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

How many people in Germany have been vaccinated?

According to official figures, 76.3 percent of the German population has received two Covid jabs. Just over 62 percent have also received a booster jab, and 9.9 percent have been given a second booster vaccination.

Around 18.4 million people (22.2 percent) in Germany are not vaccinated. For four million of these people aged 0 to four years (4.8 percent), no licensed vaccine is available.

Does getting the flu vaccination help against Covid?

Coronaviruses and the flu are different viruses, so the flu jab cannot protect against Covid-19. However, those who have a weaker immune system can strengthen their body in fighting a virus by getting a flu shot, according to experts. The immune system can then better use resources it saves against a possible Covid infection.

The fourth Covid jab and the flu shot can be administered to patients at the same time, according to the STIKO – although they don’t have to be.

If this is the case, the injections are given in different arms. However, it could be the case that patients have a stronger reaction if both jabs are carried out at the same time, so keep that in mind. 

READ ALSO: Can anyone in Germany get a second Covid booster jab?