Consultations between Federal Government and Länder Children aged 12 and up to be offered vaccine

Provided the EMA authorises the use of a COVID-19 vaccine for this age group, it should be possible to vaccinate children and young people aged 12 and over. After her meeting with the Heads of Government of the Länder to discuss vaccination, Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that it is important to note that safe schooling will continue to be “completely independent” of whether or not a child is vaccinated. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel at a press conference

The vaccination campaign has really picked up speed, and the numbers of new COVID-19 cases are dropping. “That is a major achievement,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

Children and young people aged 12 and over should soon have the chance to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Once the priority system for vaccinations is suspended – generally as of 7 June – they too will be able to make an appointment for vaccination. This has been agreed by the Federal and Länder Governments at their meeting on Thursday to discuss vaccinations.

The Federal Government has stated its intention of offering a vaccination to all citizens by the end of the summer – that now also applies to children and young people as of the age of 12. Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed this after her meeting with the Heads of Government of the Länder.

Offer of vaccination, but no prioritisation of children and young people

Children and young people without any pre-existing conditions will not be classed as a priority group for vaccination. In line with the decision of the Federation and the Länder, they will be treated in the same way as others who wish to be vaccinated but do not belong to any priority group. There will be no special contingent of vaccines for children and young people.

Safe schooling for everyone – whether they are vaccinated or not

In spite of everything, said the Chancellor, it is important to know that “safe schooling will continue to be completely independent of whether or not a child is vaccinated”.  There should not be any indirect pressure on parents to have their child vaccinated. “We do not have a system of compulsory vaccination.”

At the Chancellor’s meeting with the Heads of Government of the Länder, STIKO Chairperson Thomas Mertens reported on ongoing work on the recommendation still to be issued regarding the vaccination of children and young people with the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed, “Vaccinating children is a very sensitive matter.” It is right that the STIKO look very precisely at the dangers and the opportunities, and that they focus on the wellbeing of children. 

Vaccination campaign has really picked up speed

Overall, said the Chancellor, the vaccination campaign of the Federal and Länder Governments has “really picked up speed”. So far, almost 35 million Germans have received at least one vaccination (41.5 per cent), while 13 million (15.7 per cent) are already fully vaccinated. 

“Prioritising older people and people with pre-existing conditions for vaccination has had a positive impact,” said Angela Merkel. It has significantly reduced the number of people suffering a severe outcome. The numbers of new cases are dropping, and more intensive care beds are being freed up. “That is a major achievement.”

Common EU digital COVID certificate

With regard to the common EU digital COVID certificate, the Chancellor reported that the legal framework has now been clarified at European level to ensure the compatibility of the various national digital COVID certificates. This will mean that a digital service will soon be made available. Digital certificates are already being piloted in Germany.