BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany has launched an autumn vaccination campaign against respiratory infections by presenting a new coronavirus booster dose only for the elderly and those at high risk of disease.

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The Robert Koch Federal Institute for Public Health said the country's vaccine advisory group, made up of independent vaccine experts, has confirmed its recommendation that booster doses beyond the standard COVID vaccination course should only be given to certain risk groups.

"People over the age of 60, as well as at-risk groups, should be vaccinated," said 60-year-old Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, who also underwent additional vaccination today.

Germany's decision to target the elderly, people at risk or the chronically ill, workers in nursing homes, health professionals and those in close contact with people at risk largely coincides with that of other European countries such as France, Italy and the UK. Britain has put people over 75, those in nursing homes and people with reduced immunity at the forefront.

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This is in stark contrast to the much more comprehensive approach in the U.S., where last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the new COVID vaccines, which apply to anyone over 6 months of age.

Last month, EU regulators gave the green light to the updated vaccine to Pfizer and its German partner Bayontech, which targets Omicron's XBB.1.5 variant. Moderna's updated vaccine is also on track for approval.

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