STIKO recommends COVID-19 vaccination for children between 5 and 11 years old
On 26 November, 2021, the European Commission approved BioNTech’s vaccine for children between the ages of five and eleven years old. The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) updated its COVID-19 vaccination recommendation on 17 December, 2021 to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for children between the ages of five and eleven years old with pre-existing conditions. Currently, children in this age group without pre-existing conditions are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease, hospitalisation, and intensive care. Most infections in this group are asymptomatic. In addition, the risk of rare vaccination side effects cannot be assessed at present due to the limited data available. Therefore, the STIKO currently does not make a general vaccination recommendation for five- to eleven-year-old children without pre-existing conditions. However, the STIKO also recommends vaccination for children who come into regular contact with anyone who has a high risk of a severe course of COVID-19 disease and who cannot be protected, or can only be insufficiently protected, by vaccination (for example, people undergoing immunosuppressive therapy).
According to the STIKO, vaccination with two doses of the mRNA vaccine Comirnaty (10µg) from BioNTech/Pfizer should take place at intervals of three to six weeks. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, no side effects — in particular no myocarditis or pericarditis — were observed in the approval study. However, due to the study size at the time of approval and the comparatively short observation period after vaccination in the countries that already vaccinate in this age group, there are not yet sufficient data to be able to identify rare or very rare adverse reactions.