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BERLIN: Germany's expert panel on vaccine use (STIKO) on Thursday recommended Novavax's protein-based COVID-19 vaccine for basic immunisation for people over 18.

It said a booster shot should be given with an mRNA vaccine, and particularly vulnerable people should also receive a second booster with an mRNA vaccine.

Novavax's vaccine uses a different technology than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna or the Johnson and Johnson shot.

This could convince reluctant Germans, sceptical about the novel mRNA technology and its long-term effects, to take Novavax's more traditional vaccine and boost Germany's vaccination rate.

Germany to receive 3.8mn doses of Novavax's new COVID vaccine in Q1

Germany expects to receive 3.8 million doses of Novavax's Nuvaxovid vaccine by March 20 and a total of 34 million doses this year.

STIKO also updated its general recommendation for booster shots and now advises at-risk people and health workers to get a second booster jab against the coronavirus with an mRNA vaccine.

The recommendation comes amid surging coronavirus infections in the country of 83 million.

The Robert-Koch-Institute for infectious diseases reported a record of 236,120 new cases on Thursday.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has warned the numbers could exceed 400,000 by mid-February.

"We have data from Israel that shows a fourth dose significantly improves protection from a severe case of illness," STIKO chief Thomas Mertens told media group Funke in an interview published on Thursday.

Some countries have already started offering additional booster doses, but a recent study from Israel showed that while a fourth dose of an mRNA vaccine boosted antibodies, the level was not high enough to prevent Omicron infection.

STIKO in November recommended a third jab for all adults and last month updated its advice to include everyone older than 12. For ages five to 12, the panel still only recommends a COVID vaccination for children with pre-existing conditions.

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