Are your children vaccinated?

Ways out of the pandemic Corona vaccination for children too?

According to a survey by the Barmer health insurance company, 42 percent of those surveyed want their children to be vaccinated against the new corona virus. But nothing will come of it at first. It is still unclear when a suitable vaccine will be available for children. Because special studies on corona vaccine tests on children are only just beginning.

The vaccine is initially intended to protect high-risk groups

There are several reasons why only adults will be vaccinated initially:

The Robert Koch Institute points out that the vaccine is primarily intended to protect those who are most seriously ill with Covid-19. These are especially older people and people with previous illnesses.

Most children and adolescents do not belong to the risk groups

The pediatrician Hans-Iko Huppertz from the German Academy for Children and Adolescent Medicine confirms that children who are infected with the new coronavirus usually have a milder course and are definitely not among the main risk groups.

Vaccine tests on children are only followed after tests on adults

According to the Robert Koch Institute, early vaccine tests are not allowed to be carried out on children for ethical reasons alone. Before starting the clinical trial in children, it must be ensured that no serious side effects have occurred in the studies in adults.

You always test on people who are as resistant as possible, mostly on young adults. If they tolerate it well, you dare to approach somewhat older people and people with previous illnesses. As a rule, children always come last.

Status of vaccine studies with children and adolescents

According to Dr. Rolf Hömke from the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, however, are already running some studies on the tolerance and safety of the vaccines in adolescents from some manufacturers.

EMA calls for child vaccine studies by 2024

In addition, the European approval authority EMA has made vaccine manufacturers a condition that they should also carry out studies with children under 12 years of age in the future. A separate, adapted dosage should also be found for these younger children. However, these studies will only start once there are good results on the effectiveness and tolerability of a vaccination in adolescents. The EMA expects the results by the end of 2024.

Adult vaccination will have beneficial effects on children

The RKI assumes that the nationwide vaccination of adults will have a positive effect on children. If the overall infection rate is suppressed, children could also be protected in this way.

Biontech vaccine is approved from 16 years of age

The European approval authority EMA has approved the Biontech vaccine for adolescents aged 16 and over. The Biontech vaccine has also been approved in Great Britain, the USA and numerous other countries from the age of 16. Most countries, however, first vaccinate the oldest and most dependent citizens. Young people are only at the bottom of the list of those to be vaccinated. But there are exceptions: Israel has now started vaccinating 16 to 18 year olds so that they can take their final exams.

Off-label vaccination for children who belong to the high risk group?

Pediatrician Hans-Iko Huppertz thinks that there should be exceptions for children who belong to the high-risk group. For example children with multiple disabilities and children with really serious chronic illnesses. In such children, off-label use would make sense after careful consideration of the risk. This means a vaccination, even if the vaccine has not yet been approved for children, but has already been tested on adults for a few months.

Children often need special vaccines

Huppertz emphasizes that this has to be weighed carefully, because the immune system of children is still changing. Children do not yet have a fully developed immune system.

A number of vaccines are therefore vaccinated differently on children - sometimes simply in a lower dose, sometimes in a different composition.

The course of the disease in adolescents differs from that in adults

Treating even 16-year-olds like adults is difficult, says the pediatrician. Because the course of various infectious diseases is dependent on age.

You have to be very sure in vaccine tests that the course of Covid-19 in children does not become more severe after a vaccination.

Hans-Iko Huppertz

That was the case with some respiratory viruses. There, the course of the disease was much more difficult after a vaccination, because the immune system then went crazy when it came into contact with the actual virus.