Phase 1 is about the right dose. For this, the children are divided into three age groups: five to eleven years, two to five years and under two years. The oldest group begins, initially with 144 participants, then the younger groups should follow step by step. In phases 2 and 3, the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the vaccine dosage determined for the individual age groups are checked.
The vaccine has been tested on children between the ages of 12 and 15 as part of phase 3 since autumn 2020. 2259 children in this age group are reported to be taking part. The data are promising and should be published soon.
According to the Paul Ehrlich Institute, vaccines can only be approved for those age groups for which data on efficacy and safety from clinical trials are available. In this case, the existing approval would be extended to younger people through a so-called change notification.
Pediatricians judge vaccinating children differently: They hardly ever get seriously ill themselves, but they can pass the virus on without being noticed. It is unclear whether the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) would recommend vaccination for children in Germany. When asked “Will there be a vaccination recommendation for children against Covid-19?”, The Robert Koch Institute writes on its website: “It is not yet foreseeable.”
The first chairman of the German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Johannes Huebner, told the SWR that he was hoping for the approval of a corona vaccine for children and adolescents this year. “We’ll definitely recommend that.” However, Hübner refused to say that children and adolescents are pandemic drivers: The increased number of infections detected in these groups is mainly due to more rapid tests in schools and daycare centers.
Vaccine studies on children are not without problems, said the director of the Center for Child and Adolescent Medicine at the University of Mainz and Stiko member, Fred Zepp, in February of the dpa: “The younger a person is, the more pronounced he can react and the stronger are possibly also side effects. “
The Kinderschutzbund welcomed the fact that the pharmaceutical companies are now starting to test the vaccines in young children. “The measles vaccination or the vaccination against polio save thousands of children’s lives every year and prevent long-term consequences,” said Heinz Hilgers, President of the Child Protection Association, the daily newspapers of the media group VRM. A corona infection could also be dangerous for children. “If we can prevent that with vaccinations, we have to do that too. And last but not least: Without vaccinations for children we will not get out of this pandemic.”
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210326-99-981285 / 5
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