Berlin (dpa) – Concerns about an increased spread of corona among children and young people in Germany are growing. There is growing debate about how to contain infections in minors and how the virus can be passed down in their families.
The human geneticist Wolfram Henn of the German Ethical Council demanded: “We need mandatory vaccination for staff in nurseries and schools.” The Federal Parents’ Council demanded air filters in all schools on Monday. President of the teachers’ association Heinz-Peter Meidinger warned of a fourth Corona wave with enormous dimensions.
Background to the debate: There is no approved vaccine for children under the age of 12. The Permanent Vaccination Commission (Stiko) currently only recommends vaccination for children and adolescents if they have certain previous illnesses or people who are at risk and unable to protect themselves.
PRO-VACCINE REQUIREMENTS FOR TEACHERS:
Henn argues with reference to school and daycare staff: “Anyone who joins a group of vulnerable people by choosing a profession has a special job-related responsibility.” Teachers should especially protect children under the age of 12, said the medical ethicist from the University of Saarland of the “Rheinische Post” (Monday).
Admittedly, children have a low risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid, Henn said. However, one must continue to expect “that they will carry the virus in their families and infect people from high-risk groups”. Henn cited cancer patients as examples who could not be vaccinated because of their therapies. This group must be protected for certain professions by mandatory vaccination.
A vaccination is possible in Germany, but rarely. Since March 2020, proof of measles vaccination is mandatory for children when admitted to nurseries and schools. This obligation also applies to teachers and educators. Under the Infection Protection Act, the Federal Department of Health can order that “endangered segments of the population” should participate in protective vaccinations.
The president of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, supports mandatory vaccination for certain professions. “Doctors and nurses” should also be vaccinated, he told the Funke media group.
CONTRA-VACCINE REQUIREMENTS FOR TEACHERS AND EDUCATION:
Criticism of the initiative came from the Association of Education and Education. “What we don’t need now is a discussion about mandatory vaccination for a profession that has been vaccinated by an overwhelming majority,” said union leader Udo Beckmann. Teachers and educators were enthusiastic about the vaccination. Most of them would have accepted their vaccination offer. The vaccination rate is sometimes 90 percent. Beckmann warned: “If a vaccination is not possible for health reasons, it should not lead to a professional ban.”
The federal government also rejects the vaccination requirements. All people are being urged to get vaccinated — including teachers and educators, said a spokesman for Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU). “There will be no mandatory vaccination.” That’s what SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach told the Funke newspapers. “I reject such a mandatory vaccination.” Politicians must keep their word. Henn had also refused a general mandatory vaccination.
In Germany, 58.5 percent now have at least one basic vaccination. 42.6 percent of the total population is fully vaccinated. Low-threshold offers are needed to convince more people to vaccinate, according to the spokesperson for the GGD. Some countries are already following very “creative paths” – for example, mobile vaccination teams for supermarkets or in universities.
Spahn had announced that all adults who want to be vaccinated can be vaccinated for the first time in July. For children and adolescents older than 12 years, the first vaccination should be possible at least at the end of August. For all those who were not vaccinated, the president of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, had predicted: “In the long run, this virus will infect every German who is not protected by a vaccination.”
AIR FILTERS IN SCHOOLS – A SUFFICIENT ALTERNATIVE?
It is now expected that more air filters will be purchased for schools. According to the Federal Ministry of Economy, there are talks about expanding the federal program to support them. Until now, the federal government has only subsidized the installation of fixed systems.
North Rhine-Westphalia Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) had announced that the federal and state governments are working on a program for more such filters in classrooms. After the Federal Environment Agency changed its critical view of the filters, states would now be advised on how to supplement federal funding, the Union chancellor candidate for ARD said.
The Federal Parents’ Council called for air filters not to be restricted to classes with children up to the age of 12. “If that cannot be done at the beginning of the new school year, at least larger rooms should be available so that students are not re-exposed to the model of alternating classes,” deputy head Ines Weber told the newspapers. the Funke media group.
Beckmann said it is the responsibility of politicians to “exhaust all technical capabilities in nurseries and schools to protect everyone in the school and nursery from infection”.
Meidinger told RTL/ntv that in addition to mask requirements and rapid tests, filter systems are also important. “But I doubt that alone is enough to keep schools open with certainty.” Progress in vaccinating children and adolescents would be crucial. This age group, which until now has largely not been vaccinated, is also threatened with contamination outside the schools. “Even with the best health protection measures in schools, the fourth wave can reach enormous proportions.”