Austria: Single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine ‘no longer valid’ for Covid pass

Anyone vaccinated with a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in Austria will no longer be deemed fully vaccinated from January 3rd, 2022, onwards, unless they have received a second dose.

The J&J vaccine. Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP
The J&J vaccine. Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP

This change in vaccine validity was first announced by the government in November.

Approximately 260,000 people have been vaccinated with the J&J vaccine in Austria since the start of the vaccination campaign. 

Of those, around 75,000 have not received a booster. 

The Austrian government has for some time recommended people who received the J&J vaccine – along with those who were vaccinated with Astra Zeneca – to get an mRNA vaccine (either Moderna or Pfizer/Biontech) as a booster. 

Anyone who has received the Johnson and Johnson jab is recommended to get a booster shot 28 days afterwards. 

The reason for the policy change is a belief that the J&J jab has a lower effectiveness against the Omicron variant, the government confirmed on Wednesday. 

“The requirement for a second vaccination with Janssen in order to receive a valid vaccination certificate is based on the latest scientific data that are available to us in Austria” the government said on Wednesday. 

“In the case of a Janssen vaccination, a refresher of the vaccination protection seems to be necessary – especially in view of the Omikron variant. 

“Therefore, we call on all people who have been vaccinated once with Janssen to be vaccinated again for their own protection.”

Member comments

  1. Why is there no discussion of monoclonal antibody treatment in Austria? How many people would have been kept out of the hospital with a proper early outpatient monoclonal antibody program during the Delta wave? See Florida’s program. The obsession with the current Covid vaccines is becoming stranger by the day given emerging data showing poor effectiveness against Omicron.

    1. Vaccines are a fence at the top of the cliff. monoclonal antibody treatment is a tree branch half way down.

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For members


Covid-19 in Austria: When should you get your fourth vaccine dose?

As Covid numbers increase in Austria, politicians and health experts are debating whether to recommend a fourth dose of the vaccine as soon as this summer.

Covid-19 in Austria: When should you get your fourth vaccine dose?

Austria has reported an increase in Covid infection numbers and a worrying upwards trend that has experts and authorities ​​considering if they should recommend a fourth dose of the vaccine earlier than the expected Autumn booster campaign.

Despite the number being nowhere near the almost 70,000 just 45 days ago, the recent upwards trend, when cases should be steady or decreasing over summer, is the main cause of concern.

Back in June, authorities were much more optimistic.

READ ALSO: Austria to ‘pause’ Covid mask mandate from June 1st

“The number of new infections has fallen, as well as the number of people in hospitals due to Covid-19, for several weeks now. This is good news”, Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) said just as the Ministry announced it would “pause” the mandatory use of FFP2 masks.

The plan was to bring back the masks after summer – assuming the warm season would have fewer cases and less risk.

Rising Covid numbers

On Thursday, June 9th, Austria reported 5,144 coronavirus infections after 123,751 PCR tests were taken, according to the Health Ministry.

The previous week, there were 3,035 new infections (with 157,154 PCR tests taken).

There are currently 470 people in hospitals with Covid-19, and 39 people in intensive care units, according to the Ministry.

Just under 64 percent of the population has a valid vaccination document. The number keeps decreasing as vaccines expire, and many people don’t take their booster dose.

READ ALSO: LATEST: These are the Covid rules in Austria and Vienna from June 2022

The increase coincides with the removal of almost all coronavirus restrictions. In general, the only regulation still in place outside of the health sector is in Vienna, where people need to wear an FFp2 mask in public transport.

People who test positive also need to isolate for at least five days.

Will the fourth vaccine dose be recommended for everyone?

Austria’s GECKO crisis coordinator Katharina Reich and Health Minister Rauch are now calling for vulnerable people to get vaccinated in light of the rising number of corona cases.

“We won’t have any peace in the summer. There is no stability. Vulnerable groups should get vaccinated now and again in the autumn. Everyone else who has already been vaccinated three times should get boosters around eight weeks before the autumn wave,” Reich told Austrian media.

Currently, Austria’s National Vaccination Committee (NIG) has recommended a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, but only for those deemed at risk of serious illness.

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: What should I do if my Austrian Green Pass is expiring

The NIG identifies risk groups as people over 80 and those between the ages of 65 and 79 with a weakened immune system or existing health conditions.

The committee is considering lowering the recommended age to 65, even for people with no other health conditions.

In Vienna, the fourth dose can already be given off-label to persons over the age of 65 or to anyone who wants to take it after a medical individual risk-benefit assessment.

Clinical pharmacologist Markus Zeitlinger, from MedUni Vienna, told Kurier that he believes anyone who wants maximum immune protection at all times should get a vaccination now – children excluded. He said since there will be a summer wave, people shouldn’t wait to get protected.

He said there is medically no reason not to get vaccinated in June, and then again as early as October. 

If you have had three vaccinations and had an infection confirmed by PCR test, then no further vaccination is currently recommended.

What is advised as numbers rise?

The virologist Dorothea van Laer from the University of Innsbruck has asked people to wear masks in summer, speaking to the ZIB2 programme.

She said it was particularly important for those in frequent contact with vulnerable people. She also advised people to get boosted if they hadn’t taken their third dose yet.

READ ALSO: Austria’s compulsory vaccine mandate suspended until August

Van Laer also criticised the lack of knowledge about immunity in the population of Austria, stating:

“We don’t have a representative study on the contamination of the Austrian population. We don’t even know if we have a problem at all or if, like in England, 99 percent of people already have antibodies and a certain amount of protection against severe illness.”