The Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) recommends that all children between the ages of five and eleven receive a one-time vaccination against the coronavirus. This is according to a new assessment of the STIKO, which it published on Tuesday. The background to the recommendation to initially give only one vaccination is the assumption that the vast majority of children in Germany have already experienced an infection with the coronavirus.
The commission continues to recommend so-called basic immunization, which consists of two vaccinations, only for those children in whose environment there are close contacts at high risk of a severe Covid 19 course who "cannot be safely protected" by vaccination. For example, these may be patients whose immune systems are artificially weakened by medications. For children with pre-existing conditions in which the immune system is weakened, the STIKO recommends a booster vaccination in addition to the basic immunization.
Until now, there was no general Covid-19 vaccination recommendation for healthy children between the ages of five and eleven. However, parents were free to have their children vaccinated anyway after receiving medical information. According to the STIKO, vaccination for young children should preferably be given with the mRNA vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer for this age group; alternatively, a pediatric dose of Moderna is also possible from the age of six.
Vaccination should be administered no earlier than three months after infection. STIKO estimates that the proportion of five- to 11-year-olds who have already had at least one contact with the SARS-CoV-2 antigen was 77.5 percent at the end of March. Even children who have not yet been shown to be infected should initially receive only one dose.
According to the Robert Koch Institute, around 22 percent of five to eleven-year-olds in Germany have been vaccinated against Corona at least once. The rate is lowest in Saxony at 7.6 percent and highest in Schleswig-Holstein at 30.5 percent. Almost every fifth child in this age group has already received the second vaccination, i.e. is already immunized against the corona virus. The national average is 19.6 percent. Across all age groups, the rate of basic immunization is 75.9 percent. Just under 60 percent of citizens have received a first booster vaccination, and slightly less than six percent have received a second booster.
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said Tuesday on the sidelines of the German Doctors' Day in Bremen that he does not expect "a quota" for vaccinations of young children. Vaccination protection, he said, is a good way to prevent illness and, consequently, failure to attend school. "I hope that vaccination will be well accepted, but one must not build up pressure," Lauterbach said. No children would have to be vaccinated against Corona to protect adults.
Photo by Afif Kusuma