Austria: Single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine ‘no longer valid’ for Covid pass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