The government’s standing vaccine committee has decided not to recommend vaccinating small children against COVID-19, instead recommending it only for those with certain pre-existing conditions.
The body concluded that the COVID-19 jab should not be recommended to children under four after “thoroughly examining” all available scientific evidence, committee chair Robert Mertens told journalists on Thursday.
The experts estimate that, for small children without certain health conditions, an infection with the virus does not pose a high risk of leaving significant damage. At the same time, available data on the vaccine effectiveness for this group is scarce and cannot provide a sufficient basis for a general recommendation, according to the committee.
“We have taken a similar approach in the past for other age groups,” committee member Martin Terhardt explained.
In October, the European Commission approved reduced doses of the regular BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for small children older than six months. The German committee now recommends these vaccines for small children with conditions that could aggravate the impact of a COVID-19 infection, including children born prematurely.
The experts estimate that around one in ten children of the relevant age group in Germany would fall under these criteria.
However, Moderna’s adapted vaccine doses for small children are currently unavailable in Germany, FAZ reported citing competent authorities.
(Julia Dahm | EURACTIV.de)