Vaccines for young people in Germany ‘possible’ by end of summer, says Health Minister

German Health Minister Jens Spahn thinks it’s possible that vaccinations will be made available to 12- to 18-year-olds in Germany by the end of the summer vacations, he said on Tuesday.

Vaccines for young people in Germany 'possible' by end of summer, says Health Minister
A student taking an exam on April 28th in Bautzen. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Kahnert

However, that depends primarily on the approval of vaccines for adolescents, Spahn said on Deutschlandfunk radio. 

“Just today, the European Medicines Agency has said yes, that at the end of May or beginning of June, this can happen once the vaccines are approved.”

Spahn added that the federal government and states agreed that the vaccinations for young people will then take place – for example, in schools or by inviting them to vaccination centres. 

By the end of the summer vacations, all 12- to 18-year-olds could thus receive at least one jab, and ideally already both, Spahn said. 

Then schools could start operating more normally again, he added. Currently several remain closed in German cities and districts with high Covid incidence rates. 

In April, Germany’s BioNTech said it hopes for 12-15 year olds to receive its vaccine starting in June, pointing out that it’s safe for this age group. 

‘Accept the offer’

The Health Minister also encouraged older people not to refuse vaccinations from manufacturers AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. 

“I can really only appeal to those over 60 who get an AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccine offer to accept it,” he said, referring to the age group for which the vaccines, which run a rare risk in younger people, are recommended. 

Both vaccines are also now available to all adults after a consultation with their doctors.

READ ALSO: Germany makes J&J vaccine available to all adults: What you need to know

“The vaccines are very good and very effective, in some cases even more effective than BioNtech, especially in the elderly,” he said.

Currently, one-third of Germans have been vaccinated at least once, he said, as new Covid infections continue to decline. 

On Tuesday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 6,125 new infections in the last 24 hours, down from 7,534 a week before.

“If we keep this up together, then this can be a good summer,” Spahn said. Especially in June, he said, Germany will have significantly more vaccine doses at its disposal.

The country expects an installment of 10 million doses from Johnson & Johnson by the end of July.

There is clearly reason for confidence, Spahn said, but we also have to avoid this morphing into overconfidence.

“Otherwise it will catch up with us again far too quickly,” he said.

Member comments

  1. How about the authorities waiting until the trials are finished in 2023 before jabbing millions of young people who don’t need this.

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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