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UPDATE: Austria to roll out Covid booster shots in autumn

The Local Austria
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UPDATE: Austria to roll out Covid booster shots in autumn
A nurse prepares a syringe with saline solution before it is diluted with the Pfizer Biontech vaccine at the vaccination center of German speciality chemicals company Evonik in Hanau, western Germany, on Mai 19, 2021, amid the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. (Photo by THOMAS LOHNES / AFP)

Austria is planning a third Covid booster shot “in due course”, with indications they will take place in autumn.

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The Austrian government is starting to prepare for autumn with plans for booster shots against Covid-19. 

The Ministry of Health has told the broadcaster ORF that the federal government will continue to be responsible for the distribution of vaccines, while the federal states will implement the campaigns.

Booster jabs should start to be given from mid-October, initially targeting high risk groups, who were first vaccinated in mid-January.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein said the shots will start in nursing homes as soon as approval is given at a European level. 

Kurz and Mückstein issued a statement saying they expect "new scientific knowledge about the need for a third vaccination soon”. 

"The top priority is protecting the elderly and vulnerable groups. We therefore expect the EMA to be promptly informed about the need for a third vaccination against the coronavirus.

"In any case, we are prepared and have agreed with the state vaccination coordinators that we can start the third vaccination immediately after a possible recommendation."

It is currently assumed that a third jab should take place around nine months after the second vaccination, unless you were vaccinated with a single dose from the manufacturer Johnson & Johnson or have recovered from a case of Covid-19, in which case the booster shot will be the second jab.

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These plans are being developed by the Austrian states, who are in charge of administering the vaccines. 

"Based on the current study situation, it is not yet possible to conclusively assess whether a booster vaccination will really be necessary for everyone after nine months," said the ministry. 

ORF reports that there may be differences in the plans for booster shots from state to state. 

The exact timing will be known when the European approval authority EMA makes its recommendations, however the Austrian government has indicated it will have enough supply to carry out booster shots regardless of who they will be administered to. 

Lower Austria was the first state to roll out Covid booster shots, doing so in late August. Carintha became the second just a few weeks later

Booster shots for people over 60 are already being administered in Israel, with the second doses of the vaccine carried out five months ago. 

Germany has also indicated it will administer booster shots for people in risk groups from September. 

Vaccinations started in August from January 2021. 

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