Germany's STIKO recommends COVID vaccine for 12 to 17-year-olds
Germany’s standing vaccination committee (STIKO) has revised its recommendations to now advise everyone above the age of 12 to get themselves vaccinated against coronavirus.
All 12 to 17-year-olds should be vaccinated, says STIKO
Previously, STIKO decided to only recommend the vaccine to teenagers with preexisting health conditions that made them vulnerable to COVID-19, or if they lived with somebody with such a condition. But now that more data is available, the committee has changed its position and will recommend coronavirus vaccinations for young people aged between 12 and 17 as well.
The news was welcomed by Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn, who said that STIKO’s updated advice “gives parents and young people a clear recommendation to opt for the vaccination.”
He added that there are “enough vaccines for all age groups,” and that those who wished to could get vaccinated as early as this week. While the government has been letting young people get vaccinated (in consultation with a guardian and a doctor) since August, it is hoped that STIKO’s change of heart will potentially encourage more people to come forward.
More than 10 million adolescents vaccinated in USA
STIKO said that they adjusted their recommendations based on new data about the potential side effects of the currently-available coronavirus vaccines, particularly after the large-scale vaccination rollout across adolescent populations in the USA. According to the committee, almost 10 million young people have already been vaccinated in the US.
In addition, now that the Delta variant of COVID-19 is the dominant strain in Germany, STIKO said that mathematical modelling shows there is a significantly higher risk of young people getting infected in the event of a possible fourth wave in the autumn.
“After carefully evaluating these new scientific observations and data, STIKO comes to the conclusion that, based on current knowledge, the advantages of vaccination outweigh the risk of very rare vaccine side effects,” the committee wrote.