Reader question: When can children get the Covid jab in Germany?
The EMA has approved smaller doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine for use throughout the European Union, paving the way for 5-11 year olds in Germany to be given the jab. Here's when it's likely to be available.
In an announcement made in Amsterdam on Thursday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) revealed that smaller doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine had been approved for use in the 5-11 year old age group.
Once the approval gets the final sign-off from the European Commission, EU countries will get the go-ahead to start rolling out Covid jabs to the younger segment of their populations.
So, when will children in Germany be able to get vaccinated - and how does it all work? Here's the latest.
Does this mean children should definitely get the jab?
With the adapted Pfizer vaccine now approved for use in Europe, Germany's Standing Vaccine Commission (Stiko) is likely to take a closer look at the facts with a view to issuing a recommendation for 5-11 year olds to get the jabs.
On Wednesday morning, Stiko chairman Thomas Mertens told the Funke Media Group that the panel were already working on a recommendation that could be in place in time for the new year. However, the panel first has to consider factors like possible side effects and weigh them against the possible benefits of the vaccination for children.
"Our goal is to finalise this recommendation by the end of December, preferably by the time the children’s vaccine is starting to be delivered to the states," he said.
Even if the recommendation doesn't come from Stiko by Christmas, however, children between the ages of five and 11 will still be able to get inoculated once the smaller doses of the Pfizer vaccine are available in Germany. These are exactly the same as the Pfizer vaccine for adults, except 10mg is issued for one dose rather than the usual 30mg that adults receive.
The doses are set to be distributed in orange vials to prevent them getting mixed up with the adult doses, and children will be given two doses in total, with a three-week interval in between.
When will German doctors have the doses?
According to outgoing Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), 2.4 million doses of the vaccine for children will be available in Germany from December 20th. Further deliveries are expected in the first months of the new year.
That means Germany will likely be able to start issuing its first jabs to under-12s from late December.
In doing so, it will follow in the footsteps of Israel and the USA, where children aged five and up are already getting inoculated against Covid.