The Standing Commission on Vaccination (Stiko) now advocates Corona vaccination for all children and adolescents aged twelve years and older. After careful evaluation of new scientific observations and data, it was concluded "that, based on current knowledge, the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risk of very rare vaccine side effects," the committee announced Monday, citing a draft decision.
The official text of the recommendation is not yet available; changes are still possible in a coordination process with federal states and experts.
"This recommendation is primarily aimed at directly protecting vaccinated children and adolescents from covid-19 and its associated psychosocial sequelae," the Stiko explained. The vaccination should still be carried out after a doctor has explained the benefits and risks. It is "expressly opposed to making vaccination a prerequisite for social participation in children and adolescents".
In the meantime, possible risks of vaccination in the age group can be assessed more reliably, the panel explained. It referred, for example, to nearly ten million vaccinated children and adolescents in the American vaccination program. Thomas Mertens, head of Stiko, had recently justified the previous restraint with insufficient data on the safety of vaccination in adolescents. The focus was primarily on possible consequences of heart muscle inflammation in vaccinated persons. On Monday, the Stiko spoke of mostly uncomplicated courses.
In recent weeks, the Stiko had been repeatedly called upon by various politicians to reconsider its cautious stance on vaccinating children and adolescents aged twelve and older. The panel has so far recommended immunization in the age group primarily to those who have certain pre-existing conditions such as obesity or chronic lung disease - or people with a particular corona risk in their environment.
Even without a general recommendation, vaccinations were already possible in healthy people in this age group - "after medical information and in the case of individual desire and risk acceptance". According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Monday, 24.3 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds have been vaccinated against Corona at least once and 15.1 percent have been fully vaccinated.
At the beginning of August, the health ministers of the federal and state governments had already agreed on broader offerings for children aged twelve and older - for Corona protection for the start of school after the summer vacations. With the preparations from Biontech/Pfizer and Moderna, two mRNA vaccines are approved in the EU for this group. No vaccine is yet available for children under twelve years of age.