German vaccines panel to recommend Covid jabs for children over five

An eleven-year-old gets the Pfizer vaccine in the US.
An eleven-year-old gets the Pfizer vaccine in the US. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/AP | Paul Vernon
In it’s latest planned vaccine proposal, the Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) is preparing to issue a recommendation to issue Covid jabs for children aged five to eleven in December.

The Chairman of the Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO), Thomas Mertens, has told the Funke Mediengruppe that the recommendation for children is currently in the works and that “our goal is to finalize this recommendation by the end of December, preferably by the time the children’s vaccine is starting to be delivered to the states”. 

With the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reporting a new record seven-day incidence of 404.5 and 66,884 positive tests within 24 hours on Wednesday, it seems that it’s too late to pull back the progress of the fourth wave. By trying to vaccinate more of the population, including children, hopes are now focussed on preventing a fifth wave. 

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Until now, Covid vaccines have only been approved in the EU for children over the age of twelve, but approval of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine for children aged five years and older by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to follow this week. 

According to acting German Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), 2.4 million doses of the vaccine for five- to eleven-year-olds will be made available to the states in a first shipment starting on December 20th. Last week Spahn said that, with around 4.5 million children in this age group, this will provide a good response to the initial demand. 

As a basis for its recommendation, STIKO is also interested in obtaining data on rare vaccination complications from other countries. 

In the U.S., for example, younger children have already been vaccinated with the lower-dose active ingredient since November; according to government figures, around 2.6 million five- to eleven-year-olds have received the first injection so far.

Israel also began its vaccination drive of five- to eleven-year-olds this week. In September, at the height of the fourth wave of Covid in the country, nearly 60,000 children tested positive for the virus. 

READ ALSO: How easy is it to get a Covid booster jab in Germany?

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