Government proposal: Vaccination offer for young people to be expanded | free press

Berlin (dpa) – According to a proposal from the Federal Ministry of Health, young people in all states are receiving offers for corona vaccination.

“Corresponding medical information and, if necessary, the consent of the guardians is assured,” the draft reads. This is evident from a draft resolution of the Conference of Health Ministers next Monday, which will be available to the German news agency in Berlin. The “Bild am Sonntag” had previously reported about it.

“All countries will now offer vaccinations for 12 to 17-year-olds in the vaccination centers,” the ministry writes in the proposed resolution sent to the states. General practitioners and company doctors who have vaccinated family members may also be involved. In some countries, for example, vaccination campaigns are already planned in schools. Classes will resume on Monday after the summer holidays in Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and on Thursday in Hamburg.

Vaccination coverage in adults had recently declined. 61.6 percent (51.2 million people) in Germany have now been vaccinated against the coronavirus at least once, federal health minister Spahn (CDU) tweeted on Saturday. 52 percent (43.2 million) are therefore fully vaccinated. One in five young people has already had their first vaccination. In absolute numbers, there are 900,000.

Experts say vaccination rates are far too low to keep the coming fourth wave flat in the face of the rampant, highly contagious strain of the Delta virus.

For young adults, according to Monday’s motion for a resolution, states should make “low-threshold offers” to universities, vocational schools and schools. “This can make an important contribution to a safer start to teaching and learning after the summer holidays.”

In May, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved Biontech/Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children and adolescents aged 12 and above, and Moderna was approved a few days ago. For Germany, despite intense political pressure, the Permanent Vaccination Commission (Stiko) has so far only recommended vaccination for children and adolescents with certain pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or obesity, who are at increased risk of a severe course.

“Our task is to provide the best vaccination advice for the citizens of this country and also for the children of this country, based on all available knowledge,” said Stiko chairman Thomas Mertens of “Welt”. “And that’s what we’re going to do, we’re constantly working hard on it.” About the period, Mertens said it was “weeks”.

On Wednesday evening, Stiko member Fred Zepp said on ZDF that he expects data from the US on youth vaccination “in the next two to three weeks”. Three-digit numbers of heart muscle diseases were seen there, “some of which were also such that the adolescents had to be hospitalized.”

In general, Mertens emphasized that the decisive factor for the further course of the pandemic is not a vaccination of 4.5 million children, but a high vaccination coverage in the age group from 18 to 59 years.

Baden-W├╝rttemberg Health Minister Manne Lucha (Greens) advocates vaccinations for young people. There was also approval from Saxony-Anhalt. Incumbent Health Minister Petra Grimm-Benne (SPD) of Saxony-Anhalt told the German news agency: “The demand is there.” The country is already planning special vaccination campaigns for adolescents.

Criticism came from the FDP. “If the health ministers change the vaccination advice to the Stiko, it would be tantamount to powerlessness,” said Andrew Ullmann, chairman of the FDP in the Bundestag’s health committee, the “Tagesspiegel”.

The Federal Ministry of Health is also proposing booster vaccinations against the coronavirus for certain groups from September. Especially in the case of immunocompromised, very old and in need of care, research results indicate reduced or rapidly declining protection after vaccination.

According to the draft, the federal states should therefore send mobile vaccination teams to healthcare institutions, among other things. People with immune deficiency or in home care should therefore get a booster vaccination from their doctor. These vaccinations should be performed with one of the two mRNA vaccines, ie with the products from Biontech/Pfizer and Moderna.

Anyone vaccinated with an Astrazeneca or Johnson & Johnson vector vaccine will also be offered further vaccination with the Biontech/Pfizer mRNA vaccine.

Bavarian Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) spoke out in favor of a booster vaccination. However, “clear and unbureaucratic guidelines” are needed to determine which group should go first. That requires reliable statements from the federal government and the Permanent Vaccination Commission, he told the dpa.

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