For members


What parents should know about getting a Covid jab for their child in Germany

Since mid-December, several of Germany's large vaccination centres have been offering Covid jabs for 5-12 year olds - but misunderstandings around the rules have meant some people have been turned away. Here's what parents need to know.

Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children
Doses of the child-friendly Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine sit in a bowl at a child vaccination event in Saxony-Anhalt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Matthias Bein

Can my child get a Covid jab?

As a rule, all children over the age of five should be able to get a jab either at a vaccination centre, paediatrician or with a mobile vaccination team. However, not every state vaccination centre offers vaccinations for children every day – and there can be restrictions depending on your child’s circumstances.

Generally, vaccinations for children aged 5-12 are carried out by a paediatrician or other health professional with experience of treating children, so you may find that the service is restricted to certain days of the week or timeslots. 

When booking an appointment, it’s therefore important to make sure that you’re going to the right place at the right time. You should be able to find information on when and where young children can get vaccinated on the government website of the state where you live, or by following the links for appointments listed in this article (in German.)

An alternative, and slightly easier route, is to get in touch with your paediatrician to discuss your child’s health and any risks associated with Covid and/or the vaccination. Though Covid has placed a lot of these practices under pressure lately, they will nonetheless be happy to discuss your options or even offer you an appointment for your child’s Covid vaccination at a later date. 

READ ALSO: State by state: Where children in Germany can get vaccinated against Covid

What if my child has a pre-existing condition? 

If your child is 5-12 years old has a pre-existing health condition such as asthma or a lung condition, you should be able to get an appointment for them with few issues. That’s because the Standing Vaccines Commission (STIKO) has primarily recommended Covid vaccinations for younger children with pre-existing health conditions – or those who have regular contact with someone in a risk group, such as an elderly grandparent.

However, STIKO has also made it clear that even perfectly healthy children shouldn’t be turned away if their parents are keen to get them vaccinated against Covid-19. There are exceptions, though.

If your child has no pre-existing conditions but has already recovered from a previous Covid illness, you’re likely to have a harder time getting them vaccinated at a state centre. In this case – and generally if they don’t have a pre-existing condition – it’s best to request a vaccination with a paediatrician first. 


What do I need to bring?

When you turn up to your appointment, you’ll need to make sure you have at least one form of ID for your child with you. Generally, this will need to be a passport, ID card or birth certificate.

The yellow vaccination booklet, unfortunately, doesn’t count as ID – though you’ll need to have this with you to record your child’s vaccination. Since you don’t need health insurance to get a free-of-charge Covid jab, you won’t need to bring their health insurance card with you either – and it also won’t be accepted as a form of ID. 

If your child has a pre-existing condition, you should also bring any necessary medical documents with you as proof. 

How does it all work?

Firstly, it’s important to note that you will need to book an appointment rather than simply showing up. According to German news site Focus, demand is particularly high at lunchtimes, weekends and from 4pm onwards, so parents should bear this in mind when booking. 

When you turn up for the appointment, you’ll need to check in with your name, date of birth, gender and home address. At this point, you’ll need to present your child’s ID and any other medical documents. 

You will likely be asked the age of your child, whether they have a pre-existing condition and whether they have recently recovered from Covid. As mentioned above, your answers could determine whether your child is offered a jab at the vaccination centre or not. 

Child vaccination at the Zoo

Children enter the vaccination centre at Hannover Zoo. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Julian Stratenschulte

The next step is to sign the medical history form and the consent form. At this point, you should have the opportunity to request a medical consultation if you want one.

For children aged 5-12, the vaccination will be carried out by a train paediatrician, and it will be with a lowered dose of BioNTech/Pfizer. After the vaccination is completed, the digital vaccination certificate will be printed out and the vaccination will be noted in the yellow vaccination booklet. In many vaccination centres, you’ll also be able to make an appointment for the second jab in a number of weeks, if you haven’t done this already. 

What about children over the age of 12? 

For children over the age of 12, it’s generally possible to get a first, second or booster jab at a vaccination centre with few problems. Just make sure you stick to the recommended intervals between doses, because failing to do so may result in you and your family being turned away.

For example, you should wait at least three months (or 90 days) after a Covid infection or first jab before turning up at the vaccination centre. The intervals between the second jab and booster, meanwhile, vary from state to state. In Berlin, for example, your child will only have to wait three months, while North Rhine-Westphalia insists on a five-month gap between the second and third dose. 

READ ALSO: German state vaccination centres roll out booster jabs for teenagers

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


What to know about getting a fourth Covid vaccination in Germany

With Covid cases rising, many people in Germany are wondering if they should get a fourth Covid jab - or second booster. Here's what you should keep in mind.

What to know about getting a fourth Covid vaccination in Germany

German states have started giving out new Covid vaccines that are specially adapted to the Omicron variant.

Though the Omicron variant is believed to cause milder courses of illness than earlier variants like Delta, it’s known for being highly transmissible and is often able to evade the body’s immune responses. 

In September, three Omicron vaccines received EU-wide approval: two vaccines from BioNTech and Moderna adapted to the BA.1 sub-variant, and another Omicron booster from BioNTech to protect against the dominant BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants. 

Who should get the fourth Covid shot (second booster)?

People who belong to ‘at risk’ groups should think about getting a booster shot this autumn.

The official recommendation from the Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) stipulates that people over the age of 60 should get a further booster vaccination.

In addition, people over the age of 12 who have an underlying condition that can lead to severe illness with Covid-19 should also get a shot.

Experts also recommend that residents and staff in nursing homes or long-term care facilities receive a fourth jab.

READ ALSO: When – and how – people can get the new Omicron vaccine in Germany

In STIKO’s latest guidance dated September 20th, experts also say that it may be appropriate for people at particular risk, for instance the very elderly or people with immunodeficiency, to get another shot (a fifth jab) after the fourth vaccination, although that would depend on several factors and a medical consultation. 

A Covid test centre in Rostock, northern Germany.

A Covid test centre in Rostock, northern Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Wüstneck

Should people under the age of 60 get a fourth jab?

If people don’t fall into a risk group and are under the age of 60, they can still receive a fourth vaccination, although it’s not officially recommended. You should have a consultation with your GP – or a doctor carrying out Covid vaccinations – if you are interested in getting the fourth jab. 

How do vaccination centres handle people under 60 who want to get another Covid shot?

There have been occasional reports in Germany that younger people who don’t belong to a risk group have been turned away from vaccination centres because they don’t qualify for a booster jab. 

However, The Local has anecdotally heard that people have been able to get a jab from a vaccination station or centre, regardless of their health condition or age.

A spokesperson at the health department of the city Munich told broadcaster BR24 that carrying out a fourth vaccination is decided on a case-by-case basis and is a decision taken by the medical expert giving out the jab “in each case”.

Where is the fourth vaccination available? 

There are still lots of walk-in vaccination centres across the country, while many doctors and pharmacies also carry out jabs. You should search online or contact your GP for more information. 

Many towns and cities are reporting a significant increase in demand since the new vaccines adapted for Omicron variants became available.

READ ALSO: Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

How many people in Germany have been vaccinated?

According to official figures, 76.3 percent of the German population has received two Covid jabs. Just over 62 percent have also received a booster jab, and 9.9 percent have been given a second booster vaccination.

Around 18.4 million people (22.2 percent) in Germany are not vaccinated. For four million of these people aged 0 to four years (4.8 percent), no licensed vaccine is available.

Does getting the flu vaccination help against Covid?

Coronaviruses and the flu are different viruses, so the flu jab cannot protect against Covid-19. However, those who have a weaker immune system can strengthen their body in fighting a virus by getting a flu shot, according to experts. The immune system can then better use resources it saves against a possible Covid infection.

The fourth Covid jab and the flu shot can be administered to patients at the same time, according to the STIKO – although they don’t have to be.

If this is the case, the injections are given in different arms. However, it could be the case that patients have a stronger reaction if both jabs are carried out at the same time, so keep that in mind. 

READ ALSO: Can anyone in Germany get a second Covid booster jab?