STIKO recommends COVID vaccine only for minors with health conditions
Germany’s Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) has issued a recommendation stating that only children and adolescents with certain preexisting health conditions should be vaccinated against coronavirus.
STIKO recommends vaccine only for minors with health conditions
According to a draft resolution, due to be published on Thursday, STIKO will only recommend that children and adolescents get a coronavirus vaccination if they are suffering from certain illnesses. The recommendation applies to the BioNTech / Pfizer mRNA vaccine, which is currently the only jab authorised for use on minors in Europe.
STIKO will recommend that only minors aged 12 to 17 who have an increased risk of suffering a severe course of COVID-19 should get vaccinated. These risk factors include obesity, as well as conditions like heart failure, severe forms of cyanosis, immune system disorders, high blood pressure, lung diseases, chronic nervous system disorders, kidney disorders and malignant tumour diseases.
The vaccination commission further recommends that children and adolescents above the age of 12 should also be vaccinated if they have “relatives or other contact persons who are at high risk of a severe course of COVID-19 who cannot be vaccinated themselves” or if vaccination protection is deemed insufficient for these people - for instance if they have an immune system disorder.
STIKO advises all other children and adolescents against getting a coronavirus vaccination: “The use of Comirnaty [the name under which the BioNTech / Pfizer jab is sold] in children and adolescents aged 12 - 17 years without previous illnesses is currently not generally recommended,” the draft resolution states.
Anyone can have the jab following medical consultation
However, STIKO goes on to say that vaccination is possible “after medical advice and if the child or adolescent or their guardian accepts the risk, according to their individual wishes.” For instance, the individual would first have to have a consultation with a doctor.
It is important to note that STIKO’s role is purely to issue advice. The German federal government is free to accept or reject the commission’s recommendations as it sees fit. In this instance, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn has pressed ahead and opened up vaccination appointments to everyone in Germany over the age of 12. It remains to be seen if the guidelines will be adjusted after STIKO’s new recommendations are published.