Austria’s National Vaccination Board has recommended administering a fourth Covid jab to people working in healthcare citing risks from the Omicron variant.
The board did admit that there wasn’t enough data to recommend the shots universally.
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Austria is also the first country to announce mandatory vaccinations for all its citizens from February.
RT reports: 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.