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VACCINES

Germany’s BioNTech hopes for 12-15 year olds to receive Covid vaccine from June

BioNTech said Thursday that it expected its Covid-19 vaccine, jointly developed with Pfizer, to be available to 12-to-15-year-olds in Europe from June.

Germany's BioNTech hopes for 12-15 year olds to receive Covid vaccine from June
A pupil at a school in Cologne doing a rapid test. Photo: DPA

The German firm’s CEO Ugur Sahin told Der Spiegel weekly that it was “in the final stretches” of preparing its submission for European regulatory approval.

The evaluation of the trial data “takes four to six weeks on average”, he added.

Vaccinating children is seen as a crucial next step toward herd immunity and ending the pandemic.

The prospect of getting older children inoculated before the next school year starts would also relieve the strain on parents who are juggling the demands of homeschooling while keeping up with jobs.

“It’s very important to enable children a return to their normal school lives and allow them to meet with family and friends,” Sahin told Spiegel.

READ ALSO: German doctors call for faster vaccination of young people

BioNTech/Pfizer already applied for emergency US authorisation of their jab for 12 to 15-year-olds earlier this month.

Sahin expects to submit a similar request to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) next Wednesday, he told Spiegel.

The move comes after BioNTech and Pfizer in late March announced that phase 3 clinical trials of their vaccine for children aged 12-15 showed it was 100 percent effective in warding off the disease.

Both companies are also racing to get the jab approved for younger children, from six months upwards.

“In July, the first results for five to 12-year-olds could be available, and those for younger children in September,” he said.

Ongoing trials so far are “very encouraging”, Sahin said, suggesting that “children are very well protected by the vaccine”.

BioNTech was founded in Mainz by husband and wife team Ugur Sahin and his wife Özlem Türeci. They teamed up with US pharma company Pfizer to produce the shot which is based on novel mRNA technology, and was the first Covid-19 jab to be approved in the West late last year.

‘Immense stress for children’

Calls have been growing to vaccinate children in Germany as soon as possible.

Although no scientifically proven data is available yet, studies suggest that children suffer significantly more from long-term psychological effects than adults, because they lack social contacts more.

According to a representative online survey by the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, 40 percent of the 11 to 17-year-olds stated that their quality of life had deteriorated during the pandemic, 44 percent complained of sleep disorders and a third of depression.

Children from poor and socially disadvantaged households are particularly affected. During the coronavirus pandemic, violence in families also appears to have increased – especially in areas where problems existed before.

READ ALSO: ‘More young people will become ill’: Germany facing tough battle against Covid-19 variants

“The level of stress is high and the psychological strain for children is immense,” founder of the Arche children’s project, Bernd Siggelkow told DPA.

Member comments

  1. What about the 30 to 60 year olds. Yes children are important and the elderly are important But honestly the 30 to 60 year old need to get back to Norma life as well. I haven’t seen my children in 2 years. Time to get enough vaccine for all and open up the vaccine centers. Time for mass vaccinations. Germans and all Europeans have waited long enough!!!!!! Rant done ✅

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VACCINES

Major milestone: more than 40 million Germans vaccinated against Covid

More than 40 million people in Germany have received at least one vaccination against the coronavirus so far, while a quarter of the population are fully inoculated, new government data shows.

Major milestone: more than 40 million Germans vaccinated against Covid
A vaccine is prepared in Munich. credit: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

Cracking the 40 million mark means that 48.1 percent of the total population has now received at least a first jab against the disease, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) that was released on Saturday.

Some 21.35 million people have received both jabs while 60.1 million vaccine doses have been administered in Germany so far.

This week, for the first time, the million mark in daily vaccinations was cracked on three days, Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) wrote on Twitter. According to the RKI, about two-thirds of all vaccinations have been administered in vaccination centres, and one-third in doctors’ offices.

Among the states, Bremen continues to record the highest proportion of people with first-time vaccinations at 52.9 percent, with Saxony bringing up the rear at 43.0 percent.

Meanwhile Saarland has the highest proportion of residents with full coverage, at 30.4 percent, and has also administered the most vaccine doses per resident to date.

While the first five months of the vaccine programme were based on a priority list, since Monday everyone resident in the country can register themselves for a vaccine appointment.

Case rate continues to fall

Health authorities reported 1,911 new infections to the RKI on Saturday morning. A week ago that figure stood at 2,294 new infections. The seven-day incidence dropped lightly to 18.3 from 18.6 cases per 100,000 people on Friday.

Nationwide, 129 new deaths were recorded within 24 hours on Saturday.

Opposition plans inquiry into pandemic failures

Wolfgang Kubicki, deputy leader of the Free Democrats, has said his party will push for a Bundestag inquiry into the pandemic response after September’s national election.

“There needs to be a parliamentary review of this after the election,” Kubicki said on Saturday at a party convention. “That was the announcement of a committee of inquiry,” he confirmed when asked for clarification by a journalist.

Kubicki criticized, among other things, the purchase of “unfit masks” by Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU). He said that the committee would also look into controversial aspects of the pandemic response including the government’s testing strategy and the disputes over whether intensive care units reached breaking point.

SEE ALSO: 7 things the Covid-19 crisis has taught us about Germany

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