Berlin (dpa) – As corona protection at the start of school after the summer holidays, there will be extra vaccination options for children and young people.
Federal and state health ministers decided Monday that all states will now offer vaccinations for 12- to 17-year-olds at vaccination centers or other low-threshold means. Correct medical information is required. In addition, children and young people must also be able to be vaccinated by paediatricians and general practitioners and in the context of vaccinations for family members of employees in companies. Vaccination offers are also planned for adolescents and young adults in universities and vocational schools.
Federal Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said: “Anyone who wants can get vaccinated in the summer. We have enough vaccine for all age groups.” 12 to 17-year-olds who decide to get vaccinated on medical advice can also protect themselves and others.
Booster vaccination in September
With the possibility of a booster vaccination in September, vulnerable groups in particular must also be protected as well as possible in autumn and winter. “Because for them the risk of declining vaccination protection is greatest.” The chairman of the health ministers, Klaus Holetschek (CSU) from Bavaria, said: “We are going prepared for autumn.”
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.
The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) wants to support parents in the decision about a corona vaccination of their children with a collection of information. The package leaflet provides guidelines for questions such as: Should I have my child vaccinated, even if he or she has not been ill before? How safe is the corona vaccination for my child? Does the vaccination also protect against the Delta variant? It also includes a checklist of aspects such as previous illnesses, age and personal contacts, which should help you decide for or against a vaccination.
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 want to advise on a federal government 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.
The president of the German teachers’ association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, is dissatisfied with the preparations for the new school year. You’re honestly not much better off than last year, Meidinger said in the ARD’s “morning magazine” on Monday. “Looking at the air filters, we’re not in as good shape as we could be. The federal program came way too late – not until July.” A lot of time has been lost here. But things are looking better with the rapid tests.
Meidinger identified the federal multi-billion dollar catch-up funding program as another problem. In some regions there is not enough staff to teach missed classes to children. Nevertheless, one should start the new school year with optimism, according to the association president. The incidence rates are still low and full face-to-face education is possible.
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, urging people to get vaccinated.
Fully vaccinated are now 52.3 percent of the population – nearly 43.5 million people.