Germany's health minister Karl Lauterbach said Germans will need a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to maintain protection from the Omicron variant.
"We will need a fourth vaccination," Lauterbach told public broadcaster ZDF on Wednesday night, adding that "We know this already -- we need a specific variant vaccination against Omicron."
The protection of the booster vaccination administered so far "is not too durable --- and we are prepared for that," Lauterbach went on to say.
Germany has ordered vaccine doses from Pfizer/BioNTech specifically targeting Omicron "80 million doses in total, which we expect in April or May", Lauterbach said.
Omicron could soon be dominant: On Wednesday, the head of Germany's public health institute, the Robert Koch Insitute (RKI), said that the Omicron variant could be dominant in the country in two to three weeks.
Vaccination drive in full force: Lauterbach said that vaccination centers will be kept open over the Christmas holidays to keep Germany's booster campaign up to speed and administer 30 million booster vaccinations by the end of the year.
In addition, Germany aims to get another 30 million vaccine shots administered by the end of January. Lauterbach said this strategy could ''dramatically'' slow the spread of the virus.
In Germany, 70.5% of the population is fully vaccinated and 33.8% have received a booster shot, data from the RKI showed Thursday.
Germany's new chancellor Olaf Scholz wants to achieve a first-time vaccination rate of 80% in Germany by January 7, Scholz' spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit announced Wednesday.