Berlin (dpa) – At the start of school after the summer holidays in the first federal states, broader corona protection for children and young people comes into the picture – also through more vaccinations.
The chairman of the state health ministers, Klaus Holetschek (CSU), from Bavaria, said in the ARD on Monday, before the heads of departments consulted with the federal government, that this offer should be made clear again. “It is now important that we do not lose time.” Under a federal government proposal, vaccinations for children between the ages of 12 and 17 should also be offered in vaccination centers in all states, as is already possible in medical practices. Advice should also be given on offers for booster vaccinations for the first population groups.
Berlin Mayor Müller: Scientists Agree
The ruling mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller (SPD) approved offers for children aged 12 and older. Although the Permanent Vaccination Commission (Stiko) is still hesitant on this, many doctors and scientists believe that a vaccination protects young people much better, he said in the ARD. In the capital, it can be seen that the 15- to 25-year-olds had an incidence that was two to four times higher than that of other population groups. He considers it “very appropriate” to respond to this and make a non-binding offer.
In May, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine from 12 years and a few days ago also for Moderna. In Germany, the Stiko generally does not recommend vaccinations for children and young people, despite political pressure, but only if there is a higher risk of more serious corona treatments, for example from diseases such as diabetes. However, parents and children can make an individual decision after medical advice. About 900,000 children between the ages of 12 and 17 had been vaccinated this weekend, according to the Federal Ministry of Health.
Lauterbach: Stiko stands for “outsider”
The SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach supported vaccination offers for children and adolescents. The Stiko represents an “outsider’s position” in this matter, he said on Deutschlandfunk. The major studies on childhood vaccination found that an “infection” with the Delta variant of the coronavirus is more dangerous than a vaccination. North Rhine Medical Association president Rudolf Henke (CDU) expressed skepticism in the WDR. “My preference is: All adults who have contact with children are vaccinated first, and then we talk about the Stiko advice again”.
Stiko chairman Thomas Mertens tells NDR Info that there is still too little data for 12 to 17-year-olds about possible consequential damage. “We are saying that we cannot make a general recommendation until we have the necessary data security in place in this regard.” He added: “We may well change our recommendation, but certainly not because politicians have spoken out.” Health ministers also wanted to advise on a federal proposal to make more “low-threshold” vaccination offers to young adults in universities, vocational schools and schools. “This can make an important contribution to a safer start of teaching and learning after the summer holidays,” according to the concept.
First schools open again
In Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the school started again on Monday with specifications for indoor masks and regular tests, Hamburg will follow next Thursday. Green party leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt called for a “protective cocoon” for children in schools and nurseries. “What is still possible must now be implemented as soon as possible,” she told the Funke media group newspapers with a view to ventilation concepts, testing strategies and air filters. Vaccinations need simple, even unconventional ways: “For example, through vaccination teams in schools and schoolyards, for everyone who wants it.” Clear information for parents is also necessary.
Another topic of health ministers should be offers for booster vaccinations – from September, according to a federal government proposal. Especially in immunocompromised, very old people and people in need of care, research results indicated reduced or rapidly declining protection. According to the draft, the federal states should therefore send mobile teams to healthcare institutions, among other things. These vaccinations must be done with the resources of Biontech and Moderna. Advice should also be given on an additional dose of these agents as a booster offer for people who have been fully vaccinated with Astrazeneca or Johnson & Johnson.
The pace of first vaccinations is currently slower than in months. To date, 51.3 million people, or 61.7 percent of the total population, have received at least one dose, data from the Robert Koch Institute showed Monday. “However, the number of first vaccinations is just as low as in February,” federal health minister Jens Spahn (CDU) wrote on Twitter. “We didn’t have enough vaccine then, it’s different today: please get vaccinated!” Fully vaccinated are now 52.3 percent of the population – nearly 43.5 million people.