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COVID-19 VACCINES

How do I get my Covid booster shot in Austria?

Want to get a Covid-19 booster shot in Austria? Here's what you need to know.

An elderly man receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine on March 30, 2021. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)
An elderly man receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine on March 30, 2021. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)

Just under 80,000 people have received a booster shot against Covid in Austria as at mid-October, despite there being no official plan to roll out the third jabs.

Austrian newspaper Der Standard reports that the government is yet to roll out its official booster program, meaning those who have got their third jab have received it on an unofficial basis.

Up until this point, it is only those who have serious health issues or are of advanced age who have received the jab.

In late October, the EMA approved the Moderna shot to be used as a booster. 

How do I get my Covid booster shot in Austria? 

Austria is planning to roll out a third Covid booster shot “in due course”, with indications that they are likely to start in aged care facilities in October.

At this stage, the final touches are still being added to Austria’s plan for rolling out booster shots. 

Therefore, there is currently no official way in which a person can sign up for a third dose of the vaccine. 

Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein recently indicated that those who are deemed to be in risk categories will be notified by letter and will then be able to make a booking to get a booster shot. 

If you have not yet received a letter but believe you are in a high-risk category and should have a booster shot, please contact your GP to discuss your situation and find out how you can be vaccinated. 

Which states have been rolling out booster shots?

With the states playing the key role in administering booster shots, it is perhaps no surprised that the number of shots administered differs from state to state.

According to information published in Austrian newspaper Der Standard, the most were administered in Lower Austria (17,500), followed by 16,000 in Vienna.

In total, 12,000 were administered in Styria, 10,200 in Upper Austria and 7,900 in Tyrol.

Vorarlberg has administered the lowest number of booster shots, having administered around 2,300 so far.

Vienna authorities have indicated that booster shots should be made available for the most vulnerable and should be given at least six months after the previous shot.

Vienna planning Johnson and Johnson booster

People vaccinated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine can register for a booster jab in Vienna from Thursday, September 30th. 

The Austrian National Vaccination Board has now updated its recommendation to include a second dose of vaccine for those who were given the Johnson & Johnson jab.

Unlike the other vaccines which have been administered in Austria – namely Biontech/Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca – the Johnson and Johnson vaccine does not require two shots. 

UPDATE: Austria to roll out Covid booster shots in autumn

However, Austrian authorities recommend taking another manufacturer rather than Johnson and Johnson as the second jab, for instance Biontech/Pfizer or Moderna. 

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For members

COVID-19 VACCINES

Reader question: When should I get a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Austria?

Austria's national vaccination board changed the recommendations for when to get the fourth dose of coronavirus vaccines. Here's what you need to know.

Reader question: When should I get a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Austria?

Over this weekend, Austria’s national vaccination board (NIG) released an updated recommendation on Covid-19 immunisation, changing its previous guidance for the fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccination slightly.

According to the NIG, booster vaccinations can be given to persons aged 12 years and older and are recommended for anyone who wants to protect themselves.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get the new adapted Covid-19 vaccine in Austria

In particular, the 4th vaccination is advised for persons over 60 years of age, persons at risk of severe disease progression (including pregnant women) and persons with an increased risk of exposure (healthcare workers, people in long-term nursing or care facilities, etc.).

The recommended interval between the third and fourth doses is from six months for people between 12 and 59 years old, NIG said. For those over 60 or risk patients, that interval is from 4 months.

What has changed then?

The main difference is the recommendation for those who have had a Covid-19 infection after their third shot.

“An infection in vaccinated persons usually leads to a booster effect (hybrid immunity), which can affect the optimal timing of the next vaccination.”, NIG said.

However, the board specified that infection could only be “counted” after it was confirmed with a PCR test.

READ ALSO: Austria announces new Covid-19 vaccination campaign

So, if you have had a PCR-confirmed infection after your second or third shot and it was an asymptomatic case, you may follow the regular vaccination scheme. However, you can also postpone your vaccination for up to six months.

If you had a symptomatic case, you may postpone your next dose for up to six months only if you are younger than 60 and not of a risk group.

NIG said: “Persons vaccinated three times who have also had a proven omicron infection show a good booster response and cross-immunity”.

READ ALSO: From inflation to Covid: What to expect from Austria’s winter season

It added: In such cases, especially in persons under 60 years of age, the 4th vaccination within a period of up to 6 months does not achieve any further improvement in immune protection and thus, the 4th vaccination can be postponed accordingly.

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