Stiko plans new vaccination recommendations for children and teens
Stiko is considering a new recommendation to vaccinate children and adolescents with Covid 19. The RKI is very clear on the topic of COVID-19 in children – infected people are no more likely to be affected by “highly non-specific” symptoms than those who were not infected in control groups.
aIn light of the milder cycles with the omicron variant, the Permanent Committee on Immunization (Stiko) wants to make a new recommendation for children and adolescents. This was initially reported by Focus Online with reference to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).
Stiko currently recommends the Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 17 with the mRNA Comirnaty vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer. According to Stiko’s analysis from December 9, the vaccine is only recommended from ages 5 to 11 if they have pre-existing diseases. The vaccination was launched for all other children only.
However, these recommendations are still based on data from the delta wave. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) explained to “Focus Online” that Stiko is dealing with the matter and is working on a draft resolution. It is unclear whether Stiko will change the recommendations. According to information from Focus, it may go so far as not to give a “recommendation of needs”. This means moving away from the general recommendation towards individual factors.
Rarely, children infected with Sars-Cov-2 become seriously ill during a delta wave. According to pediatricians and experts, cycles are now more moderate for them with Omikron. This is also reflected in the statistics. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 3,357 children infected with or because of COVID-19 have been treated in clinics as of February 4, 150 of whom are in intensive care. This was shown by the Covid 19 survey conducted by the German Society of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Stiko writes in his justification that there have been no COVID-19-related deaths among children during the entire pandemic in Germany – provided the children were previously healthy.
There are almost no risks from Corona for children
By making a recommendation, Stiko weighs the benefits and risks of vaccination against the risks of infection. In children, one risk is the rare complication of Pims, an acute inflammatory reaction in the body that occurs in about 3 in 10,000 children and is easily treatable.
When it comes to the phenomenon of Long Covid, which is discussed in adults, the data for children is thinner. “Overall, Long-Covid appears to be less relevant for this age group of young adults and adults,” RKI told “Focus Online.” Some of the symptoms associated with Long-Covid, such as concentration and sleep disturbances, headaches or depression, moods are “not very specific”. These can also arise as a result of psychosocial stress during an epidemic, such as fears, school closures, or isolation — regardless of SARS-CoV-2 infection, RKI explains. In three available studies with a control group, children with such a disease “are no more likely to be affected by late effects than children without SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the agency said.
Long Covid as a political issue
A look at Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) in Thuringia shows how highly political the topic of children has been and the long Covid. Just a few months ago, Secretary of State Julia Hessen was put into temporary retirement for a similar assessment.
Heesen was excluded because she spoke on Twitter on behalf of the Department of Education to keep schools open and phrased it in this context: “It is not clear if children develop Long Covid.” The ministry apologized for the tweet and deleted it.
Regarding the side effects of Covid-19 vaccinations in children, the RKI currently shows that no serious side effects such as myocarditis have been observed in children aged 5-11 years. However, given the size of the study at the time of approval and the relatively short post-vaccination monitoring period in countries, there is not enough data yet to be able to identify such rare and very rare adverse effects. Currently, all vaccination complication recordings are still based on individual observations and not on large population studies. Since the vaccination campaign began at the end of December, a total of 2,777 suspected cases have been reported to the Paul Ehrlich Institute by parents or physicians. Children and adolescents had at least one reaction to a harmful immunization.
It is not yet known when Stiko may present its new recommendations.