Austria names profession for which 4th Covid jab is advised
Austria’s National Vaccination Board has recommended administering a fourth Covid-19 vaccine to people working in healthcare, but admitted there wasn’t enough data to recommend universal fourth shots.
In updated guidance published late Thursday, the National Vaccination Board said that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was putting healthcare professions at increased exposure to the deadly virus.
“In view of an imminent Omicron wave, (a fourth vaccination) can be offered in high-risk areas (e.g., exposed health care personnel) and in systemically critical areas from six months after the third vaccination,” the board said.
The vaccine group suggested shots could be given “off label” – or without regulatory approval – to healthcare workers and others in critical sectors after medical consultation.
They noted that there is a lack of evidence, but their suggestion is made on the basis of assumption. “There is still no evidence that this additional vaccination can prevent infections. However, it can be assumed that serious illnesses can be prevented,” it said.
On Wednesday, Austria said it would tighten restrictions to slow the spread of the Omicron variant from December 27. The move comes following a fourth national lockdown in November and an ongoing lockdown for the unvaccinated.
Austria has also become the first country to announce the mandatory vaccination of all citizens from February.