The German Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has extended its general Covid-19 vaccination recommendation to children between the ages of 5 and 11 with only one vaccine dose.
The committee’s official recommendation has been updated as a “precautionary measure” because another Covid-19 wave is projected to hit Germany in the autumn or winter, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement by STIKO.
Germany’s Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ) and other scientific societies welcomed the announcement. The new recommendation looks beyond the current situation and “anticipates the further development of the pandemic,” their joint statement said.
Until now, Covid-19 vaccination in this age group has only been recommended for those with pre-existing conditions or for high-risk contacts.
Twenty-two per cent of the 5.3 million children aged between 5 and 11 years in Germany have already been vaccinated at least once, according to the RKI.
In April, the German Bundestag (lower house of Parliament) rejected a proposal by the government to make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for adults aged 60 years or older.
A vaccine mandate for all adults above the age of 18 was not up for vote because the proposal failed to win enough political support.
According to RKI data, 22.4 per cent of the population in Germany remain unvaccinated. There is still no licensed vaccine available in the country for children under age four.