The Standing Committee on Vaccination (Stiko) today spoke out in favor of vaccinating children between the ages of five and eleven once with Biontech’s Covid-19 vaccine.
The panel of experts has thus adjusted its vaccination recommendation in this age group. So far, it had recommended vaccination only for children with previous illnesses.
As pediatrician and Stiko member Martin Terhardt explained, the changed study situation led to the decision, which was made unanimously. It is a precautionary vaccination recommendation, since a renewed increase in Sars-Cov-2 infections is to be expected from next autumn.
The five to eleven-year-olds should receive a one-off dose of 10 micrograms of the Biontech vaccine – regardless of whether they have already had an infection or not. Spikevax from the manufacturer Moderna can also be used by six to eleven year olds, but there is less data on safety and effectiveness.
Therefore, no statement can be made, especially about rare side effects. For children who have already had a Sars-Cov-2 infection, the experts advise waiting at least three months after recovery before immunization.
Stiko does not currently want to position itself on a second vaccine dose. The committee wants to wait and see the situation in autumn in order to be able to assess which virus variant is predominant and which vaccines will be available by then, said Terhardt. Because the doctors assume an infection rate of at least 70 percent in the children, one vaccine dose is considered sufficient. After an infection with the corona virus, the vaccination ensures so-called hybrid basic immunity, explained Terhardt.
Reinhard Berner, Director of the Dresden Clinic and Polyclinic for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine and Stiko’s external expert for Covid-19 vaccinations in children, said: “This vaccination recommendation is intended as preparation for autumn.” The age group should be given the opportunity to get through it better to come their third Corona autumn. “Parents and children had to experience enough,” says Terhardt. He sees the updated vaccination recommendation as a “serious and responsible offer to parents”.
Terhardt defended the long hesitation of the Stiko with a vaccination recommendation for children without previous illnesses. There is no blueprint for such decisions. Experiences from other countries are often difficult to transfer to Germany.