Dhe children’s vaccinations with a corona vaccine for five to eleven year olds are due to start this week in Germany. The Federal Ministry of Health announced the start of delivery of Biontech / Pfizer’s children’s vaccine. This is a lower-dose and differently bottled preparation compared to the conventional Biontech / Pfizer vaccine. According to the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko), two doses of the mRNA vaccine should be given every three to six weeks.
Federal Minister of Education Bettina Stark-Watzinger called for the vaccination offers for children to be used. A vaccination offers good protection, also and especially for children with previous illnesses, said the FDP politician in the newspapers of the Funke media group.
In addition, the vaccination of school children is an important contribution to ensuring classroom teaching. “We should exhaust all possibilities to prevent school closings across the board again,” stressed the minister. Every vaccination helps to curb the spread of the virus.
Pediatricians fear not getting enough vaccine. The president of the professional association of paediatricians, Thomas Fischbach, referred to current problems with the vaccination of adolescents. The practices would “often get just half of the vaccine ordered,” said Fischbach “Rheinische Post”.
There is great concern that the vaccines will look similar for the younger ones. Since it is unlikely that all practices will participate in child vaccinations, it is correct that the communal vaccination centers are also involved.
The chairwoman of the Federal Association of Official Doctors, Ute Teichert, also described the route via the pediatrician practices and separate vaccination routes in the vaccination centers as “correct”. Vaccinations by the public health service directly in schools and daycare centers should have been planned earlier and more intensively, Teichert told the “Rheinische Post”. However, if booster vaccinations are required in the future, she considers this to be quite feasible and also sensible.
Stiko member Martin Terhardt warned against putting pressure on families when vaccinating children. Parents who have doubts should not be pressured, said the Berlin pediatrician Martin Terhardt on Monday in the WDR morning echo. “Not even from society, through pressure on the children and families,” warned the doctor. Parents “who absolutely want their children to be vaccinated” would now have the opportunity.
Terhardt defended Stiko’s recommendation to first vaccinate children with previous illnesses. Children could be vaccinated to protect them from their rare risk of serious illness. “But they mainly have a risk of getting infected and a very small risk of getting seriously ill.”
In addition to pediatrician practices, child vaccinations are also provided in public vaccination centers, but not everywhere. In some places special vaccination campaigns are also planned – in Berlin for example in the zoo or in the natural history museum, in Lower Saxony in the football stadium of Hanover 96 and in the zoo of the state capital. When it actually starts, however, differs.
Overview of some federal states
In Bayern According to Minister of Health Klaus Holetschek (CSU), children from the age of five should be able to be vaccinated from Wednesday in vaccination centers and medical practices – provided the federal government keeps its delivery promises. The vaccination centers in Bavaria alone have ordered around 240,000 doses. “We have already asked the vaccination centers to offer special family vaccination appointments,” said Holetschek. In addition, according to a ministry spokeswoman, the stations should be designed in a child-friendly manner, and the children should receive “give-aways” such as colored pencils.
In the vaccination centers of the municipalities and districts in North Rhine-Westphalia there should be an offer for five to eleven year olds from Friday. At least half of the vaccinations should be given by appointment. The North Rhine Pharmacists’ Association assumes that the first paediatricians will vaccinate with the children’s vaccine on Monday.
In Bremen A central child vaccination center has been set up for this age group, which will start operations on Tuesday. Pediatricians are available there for advice, and information material specially designed for children is created. Mobile vaccination offers for children are currently not planned.
the Rhineland-Palatinate state government is aiming for the start of the vaccinations in one of the nine centers in the country for Thursday. Parents have been able to register their children online or via a hotline since December 1st. Parents have been able to register their children since December 1st. The main point of contact, however, should be the paediatricians, where appointments are made individually.
The Ministry of Health in Baden-Wuerttemberg For the vaccination of children aged five to eleven, initially mainly the pediatricians on the train. They know their patients best and know which children should be vaccinated as a priority, it said. In addition to the practices, there should also be vaccination campaigns in the city and rural districts and in clinics. According to the information, there are concepts for special offers for children and their parents in the Rems-Murr district and in Tübingen.
In Berlin Corona vaccinations for children in the three state-owned vaccination centers are to begin on Wednesday. There will be a total of 35 additional vaccination booths for children. Child vaccinations are also planned in primary schools by mobile vaccination teams. Vaccination offers for children are also planned for the Christmas holidays.
In Saxony-Anhalt According to the Ministry of Social Affairs, 87 paediatricians have so far agreed to vaccinate children of this age group, 40 of them have indicated their willingness to support vaccination centers if necessary. In addition, some rural districts and urban districts organized additional vaccination offers. The public vaccination centers in Magdeburg, the Burgenland district and the Anhalt-Bitterfeld district would probably only start vaccinating children in the coming year.
In Thuringia For the time being, 3000 appointments for vaccinations of five to eleven year olds have been activated in several public vaccination centers. “First of all, we are careful whether the promised vaccine actually arrives and whether the offer is accepted at all,” said the vaccination manager of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Jörg Mertz. From December 27th, the dates will be extended to vaccination centers throughout Thuringia.
In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania the children of this age group should be vaccinated primarily by the pediatricians. Health Minister Stefanie Drese (SPD) said on Friday where vaccinating paediatricians are not available. In addition, vaccination campaign days for children and their families are being planned.
“We favor vaccination in practices”
The chairwoman of the board of the Federal Association of Doctors of the Public Health Service (BVÖGD), Ute Teichert, believes that child vaccinations against the coronavirus at schools and daycare centers are right in the long term, for example when booster vaccinations are due. Currently, the path via pediatrician practices and separate vaccination routes in the vaccination centers is the right one, said the chief medical officer of the “Rheinische Post”.
The general secretary of the Federal Schoolchildren’s Conference, Katharina Swinka, calls for mobile vaccination teams in schools and better education about the vaccination. All the information came in from above, and the topic was rarely explained in a really child-friendly way, she told the German Press Agency. “In addition, mobile vaccination teams should come to the schools because schools are a social center.”
According to the Ministry of Health on Sunday, over 2.2 million doses of the children’s vaccine will be distributed to pharmaceutical wholesalers. In addition, there are country contingents that are made available, the ministry said on request. Doctors’ offices order the vaccines through pharmacies.
Parents can also have healthy children vaccinated after they have been informed
According to the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, which appealed to the Ministry, the practices have requested around 800,000 doses for this week – these would be completely delivered from Monday to Wednesday at the latest.
The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) had recommended vaccination of children aged five to eleven who have risk factors for a severe course of Covid-19 or relatives at high risk. In addition, parents can also have their healthy children vaccinated after they have been informed individually.
The Stiko paper published on Thursday is not yet a final decision, as usual there is still a coordination process with specialist societies and countries. There is still no approved vaccine for younger children.