Controversy about corona vaccination for youths

All German states are supposed to offer vaccinations against COVID-19 to every youth between the ages of 12 and 17 – with thorough information in the vaccination centers or at the doctors. This was decided by the states’ and the country’s ministers for health. This decision has led to big discussions.

The Standing Vaccination Committee wants more data

The Standing Vaccination Committee (Stiko), which is located at the Robert-Koch-Institute, only advices that youths with a pre-existing disease, like diabetes, or who are heavily overweight (adiposity) get vaccinated. The Stiko does not yet want to issue a general recommendation. They don’t have the necessary data integrity, says Thomas Mertens, Stiko’s head. However, the European Medicines Agency, EMA, has approved the vaccines Biontech and Moderna for people between 12 and 17 by now.

Some medical associations reject vaccination / student councils demand them

Many doctors are already vaccinating 12- to 17-year-olds. The Federal Physicians’ Association for Children and Adolescents is criticizing the vaccination decree by the ministers. A spokesperson for the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance has also accused the politicians of not taking other preventive steps to ensure in-person learning again after the summer holidays. Baden-Württemberg’s student council, on the other hand, supports a vaccination offers for 12- to 17-year-olds as fast as possible. This way, the regular operation of schools can be ensured after the summer holidays. Right now, about 20 percent of those under 18 are already vaccinated, almost half of them fully. In the Tübingen vaccination center, youths only get the Biontech vaccine.

Benefit-risk assessment

Parents are facing a difficult decision when assessing the benefits and the risks of the vaccination. Right now, scientists believe that 12- to 17-year-olds rarely fall severely ill because of corona. Consequently, these experts think that it’s wiser if more men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 get vaccinated. Right now, the protection is insufficient in this age group. Much is not yet studied enough. Children could suffer from long-term effects of a corona infection, however, not much is known about long covid yet. This also applies to the rarely occurring heart muscle inflammation in boys and young men. It is being investigated if there is a connection to the corona vaccination by scientists in different countries.

Other countries, other recommendations

Countries such as France, Italy and Poland recommend the vaccination for adolescents. Since the delta variant is spreading there, the number of youths being vaccinated has risen sharply in Israel. Such a discussion about the positives and the negatives like in Germany does not exist in Israel. The US-American Centers for Disease Control, CDC, is recommending the vaccination of adolescents. One reason: The pandemic can only be stopped if a big part of the population has been vaccinated

Many aspects about the corona vaccination for youths are being offered by the Robert-Koch-Institute under


Bei der Impfung.Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL / Laura Schnierle.

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