Stiko had hesitated for a long time with regard to a general corona vaccination recommendation for children between five and eleven. Now the committee is making a new assessment for the age group. What doctors say about the new vaccination recommendation.

The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) now recommends a corona vaccination for healthy children between the ages of five and eleven. In contrast to the vaccination schedule for other groups, they should initially only receive one mRNA vaccine dose, according to a statement by the committee on Tuesday.

The vaccination should “preferably” be carried out with the vaccine Comirnaty from Biontech in a reduced dose. According to the approval, Spikevax (Moderna) can also be used by children aged six to eleven. It is a final recommendation. FOCUS Online explains why Stiko has changed its recommendation and what parents need to know.

The vaccination recommendation was made as a precautionary measure because a renewed increase in corona infections is to be expected in autumn and winter, wrote Stiko as justification. “The initial one-off vaccination aims to build up the best possible basic immunity.” If it should become necessary to improve vaccination protection, this can then be done quickly with a longer vaccination interval between the first and second vaccination.

With such a longer distance, “a better protective effect and longer-lasting protection” would take effect, Stiko said. The probability of heart muscle inflammation (myocarditis) after the second vaccination that may later be necessary can be further reduced by a longer vaccination interval in this age group, in which the risk is already much lower than in adolescents and adults.

So far, Stiko had only recommended corona vaccination for children between the ages of five and eleven if they had certain previous illnesses and were therefore at increased risk or if there were people in the area with a high corona risk. Up until now, however, every child has been able to be vaccinated on request and after consultation with a doctor.

Children with previous illnesses should continue to receive basic immunization with two vaccinations and a booster vaccination, according to the Stiko in its updated recommendation.

Children without previous illnesses, in whose environment there are people at high risk of a severe course, should therefore receive a basic immunization with two vaccine doses. “Healthy children who have already received two vaccinations should not be vaccinated again for the time being,” the experts said.

The Stiko also promised that the question of whether it would be necessary to complete the basic immunization or a booster vaccination for children would be reassessed in late summer – or when the number of infections rose again.

Doctors have commented positively on the new vaccination recommendation. “You have to understand that this vaccination and this vaccination recommendation are intended as a preparation for the coming autumn and winter. That’s how it’s designed, that’s how it’s intended and that’s how it makes sense from my point of view,” explained Reinhard Berner, Director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital in Dresden. “The children are going into the third winter of a corona pandemic. We have to do everything we can to get them through this season better than the last two winters. All efforts are necessary for this, and this now includes this recommendation.”

The chief physician of the center for child and adolescent medicine at the Helios Klinikum Krefeld, Tim Niehues, said: “Every boost, every reinfection, every infection helps the immune system. The pandemic has shown that the immunity situation improves the longer the pandemic lasts. Because of the very good safety profile of the vaccination, such a vaccination strengthens the immune system and that is why I would recommend it to parents.” Just as he has himself boosted, he would also recommend that parents be able to do the same for their children – “and thus probably improving the immunity situation overall,” said Niehues.

There is already a vaccination recommendation for adults and children over the age of twelve. According to Stiko, they should be vaccinated three times in order to receive the best possible protection. No vaccine has yet been approved for children under five.