Germany to Offer Covid Shots to Youth as Vaccinations Slow

Germany is widening Covid-19 vaccinations to include all 12-17 year-olds, as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government and regional officials step up efforts to reinvigorate the nation’s flagging inoculation drive.

The move agreed to on Monday goes beyond advice published by the government’s independent vaccine commission, which recommends inoculating youngsters who have pre-existing conditions that put them at heightened risk from the coronavirus. The authority, known as STIKO, also advises vaccinating youth who are in regular contact with people in particular danger from the disease.

“We have a sufficient amount of vaccines for all age groups,” Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn said in a statement after talks with regional counterparts. “That’s why it’s good that federal states are seeking to make straightforward inoculation possible for this cohort.”

The talks also concluded with a decision to offer booster shots to vulnerable groups such as people in nursing homes and the elderly from September.

Germany to Offer Covid Shots to Youth as Vaccinations Slow

The European Medicines Agency, which monitors and supervises the safety of medicines in the European Union, has recommended giving either the Pfizer Inc./BioNTech SE or the Moderna Inc. Covid-19 shots to 12-17 year-olds.

Germany’s STIKO has been more cautious, arguing that safety studies of the vaccine for young people aren’t yet extensive enough to allow a recommendation for general use, given that most Covid cases in teens are mild.

The country’s inoculation campaign has lost steam in recent weeks. In May and June, Germany was regularly vaccinating more than 1 million people per day, but the total has fallen back significantly since the start of July.

As of Sunday, 52% of the population was fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and just under 62% had received at least one shot, according to the latest health ministry data.

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