Dispute between vaccination commission and Markus Söder escalates

IIn the dispute about the sense of child vaccinations against the coronavirus, the pressure from politicians on the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute has recently increased. Due to a lack of data on possible vaccination risks, the latter refuses to generally recommend vaccination for children. After Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) recently accused the commission of a lack of competence, the STIKO is now defending itself.

Lucia Schmidt

Editor in the “Life” section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

“The current statements by Mr Söder and other politicians about the STIKO and their work are unusual, also taking into account the election campaign time, and must be corrected,” demanded the commission on Friday in a statement that the FAZ received.

Söder, who urges children to be vaccinated as quickly as possible, had emphasized on Bayerischer Rundfunk that the STIKO is an organization whose members work on a voluntary basis. The European Medicines Agency (EMA), which has approved the corona vaccine for children from the age of twelve, “these are the professionals,” said Söder. His statement was widely understood as a doubt about the professionalism of the staffed STIKO. Söder criticized the reluctance of the commission to make people feel insecure.

“Unusual influence”

The Commission protests against this. “The STIKO is an independent committee of experts whose activities are significantly supported by the employees in the vaccination prevention department of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI),” said the statement on Friday. “In accordance with its statutory mandate, it works transparently according to strictly scientific criteria and is by no means less ‘professional’ than the EMA.”

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Individual STIKO members became even clearer on Friday. “Markus Söder has overdone with these statements,” said Rüdiger von Kries of the FAZ. “The behavior and these statements are unacceptable.” It “goes too far” to discredit a scientific advisory committee because you don’t like their opinion. “This approach reminds me of the behavior of politicians from countries whose policies we in democratic Germany do not approve of.” Söder’s escalation is “wrong, unnecessary and does not help anyone”. Von Kries demanded from Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) that he stand behind the commission.


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