Corona vaccination: what you need to know about the booster for adolescents – knowledge

Karl Lauterbach reacted immediately to the communication from the Standing Vaccination Commission that from now on it would also expressly recommend the booster vaccination for the age group from twelve to 17 years. “Now all young people and their parents have certainty,” wrote the Federal Minister of Health. But what exactly did Stiko decide? Which vaccine is used? And what are the risks? The most important questions and answers.

What is in the recommendation of the Stiko?

The third vaccination is also recommended for 12 to 17 year olds in the future – and only with the vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer. This vaccine is generally considered the vaccine of choice for people under 30 years of age because the Moderna vaccine has a slightly higher risk of myocarditis than the Biontech vaccine. The dose for the third vaccination is 30 micrograms as for adults. There should be a minimum of three months between the second vaccination and the booster.

The Stiko justified its decision with the strongly increasing number of cases due to the Omikron variant, which represented a danger to the health system. That makes an expansion of the vaccination campaign necessary. Scientific studies have shown that the effectiveness of the vaccination also decreases after a few months in children and adolescents. The vaccination protection can be improved again by a refreshment.

Are there any risks of the booster vaccination?

The panel points out that the data on the effectiveness and safety of a booster vaccination in 12 to 17-year-olds are still limited, but the risks of serious vaccine side effects are nevertheless very low. Vaccination reactions are to be expected that can be compared with those after the second injection. The most common side effects include pain at the injection site, headache and tiredness. The Paul Ehrlich Institute is responsible for the safety of the vaccines and documents all side effects since the vaccination campaign began on December 27, 2020.

In the group of twelve to 17-year-olds, there have been 2,777 suspected cases in which a side effect was reported. This affects 0.62 out of 1000 vaccinations, although very slight side effects are usually not reported. Almost 23 percent of these reports related to serious adverse reactions. Heart muscle inflammation occurred in three out of 100,000 cases, and breathing difficulties were just as common. A seizure was seen in 1 out of 100,000 cases, and anaphylactic shock in 3 out of a million.

How has the regulation been so far?

Up until now, the Stiko had expressly recommended a booster vaccination only for adults aged 18 and over. A booster vaccination has already been possible for children and adolescents between the ages of twelve and 17. However, there was no official recommendation from the Standing Vaccination Commission. Whether a child or a young person got the third point was the responsibility of the parents and the treating doctors. Some medical practices strictly adhered to the Stiko recommendations and did not give booster vaccinations to children and adolescents. That should change now.

What is the vaccination situation like among the twelve to 17 year olds?

This population group comprises 4.5 million people. From them are According to the Robert Koch Institute’s vaccination dashboard 64.1 percent vaccinated at least once. 55.5 percent have received two vaccinations and 10.9 percent have already been boosted. Some in this age group (and their parents, who are ultimately responsible) have acted independently of the recommendation of Stiko and have already been given the third tip. It’s similar to late summer. Back then, too, the Stiko’s official recommendation to vaccinate this age group did not come until a significant proportion of children and adolescents had already been vaccinated.

Why did it take so long to get the recommendation from Stiko?

Stiko has the task of weighing the risks of a corona disease against the risks of a vaccination, using scientifically proven knowledge. So you have to evaluate studies and, for example, take into account very rare side effects of a vaccination or keep an eye on the risk of severe Covid courses in twelve to 17-year-olds.

The problem in the Corona crisis is: The information available is always incomplete. For example, little is known about the risk of long covid in children and adolescents. Studies on this take a long time. So far, Stiko has always worked in a mode in which recommendations had to be backed up and substantiated with scientific data. For understandable reasons, she does not want to abandon this approach. Politicians, on the other hand, are more used to making emergency decisions on the basis of incomplete information, which for reasons of time cannot be scientifically thought out in detail, but are based on assessments. This sometimes leads to conflicts.

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