What you need to know about the booster for teenagers – knowledge

Karl Lauterbach reacted immediately after the Standing Vaccination Commission announced that it would from now on also expressly recommend the booster vaccination for the age group from twelve to 17 years. “Now all young people and their parents have certainty,” writes 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 will in future also be recommended for twelve to 17 year olds – and only with the vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer. This vaccine is generally considered to be the vaccine of choice for younger people under the age of 30 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. In addition, there should be a minimum of three months between the second vaccination and the booster.

The Stiko justified its decision with the strong increase in the number of cases due to the Omikron variant, which posed a threat to the German health system. This made it necessary to expand the vaccination campaign. Scientific studies have shown that the effectiveness of vaccinations 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 Stiko 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 for 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 start of the vaccination campaign on December 27, 2020. In the group of 12 to 17 year olds there have been 2777 suspected cases in which a side effect was reported, that is 0.62 per 1000 vaccinations (taking into account that 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 even 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 official recommendation of the Stiko only came after a significant proportion of children and adolescents had already been vaccinated.

Why did Stiko’s recommendation take so long?

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 12 to 17-year-olds. The problem in the Corona crisis is: The information available is always incomplete. For example, too little is known about the risk of Long Covid in children and adolescents. Studies on this take a lot of 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 that are not scientifically thought out in detail, but are based on assessments. This sometimes leads to conflicts.

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