Does the vaccination commission dawdle with the recommendation for 12-year-olds?

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The willingness to vaccinate is not as high as desired, appointments remain free. 12 to 15 year olds could now use them, but the vaccination commission is hesitant. For that she has received criticism.

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According to Swissmedic, the vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer is effective and safe for 12 to 15 year olds.

AFP

Swissmedic approved the vaccine on June 4th.

Swissmedic approved the vaccine on June 4th.

20min/Marco Zangger

However, the cantons are still waiting to dispense.

However, the cantons are still waiting to dispense.

20min/Marco Zangger

  • The cantons would like a greater willingness to vaccinate, in some cases vaccination dates remain free.

  • Meanwhile, parents are putting pressure on 12 to 15 year olds to be able to vaccinate.

  • But the recommendation of the vaccination commission is missing – it should come in three weeks at the earliest.

The Swiss vaccination campaign threatens to stall: The willingness to vaccinate is waning again, in Thurgau vaccination dates remain open and in Bern younger people hardly want to be vaccinated. The Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) currently assumes that the willingness to vaccinate will be between 50 and 75 percent. This means that, even in the best case scenario, a quarter of the population does not want to be vaccinated at the moment – with potentially serious consequences for herd immunity.

12 to 15-year-olds cannot yet be vaccinated – although there are certainly people in this age category who are willing to be vaccinated. Using the hashtag #savethekids, parents are demanding on Twitter that vaccinations for children and adolescents move forward. The vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer has been tested by Swissmedic and is approved for this age category.

Cantons are waiting for the vaccination chief’s recommendation

Nevertheless, the cantons only abuse him against at least 16-year-olds. The canton of Aargau wanted to release the dates for 12 to 15 year olds this week. But that is now being delayed, as Michel Hassler from the health department says: “We are currently assuming mid-June, but we cannot yet say when the first appointment will be given to the age group.” Several other cantons state that they are still waiting for the recommendation from the Federal Commission for Vaccination Issues (EKIF).

At the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG), to which the EKIF is subordinate, it says on request: “We assume that the vaccination of adolescents from 12 years should be possible in the summer of 2021, probably in July,” says media spokeswoman Masha Foursova. Adolescents aged 12 and over have not been a target group for the vaccination strategy so far (see below). And the top vaccination boss, Christoph Berger, told the “Tagesanzeiger” on Wednesday that the vaccination for this age group would not come before July.

“Young people want to protect themselves”

This is astonishing to Jürg Utzinger, Director of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute: “After Swissmedic had approved the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer / Biontech for this age group at the beginning of June and before that, I assumed it was that this will also be the case in Switzerland in the next few days. ”

Utzinger understands the cantons that are still waiting for the national recommendation – but also for the parents who put pressure on: “In terms of population, the age group of 10 to 19-year-olds was most affected by Covid-19 in the past few days affected. Even if the risk of a difficult course is lower there, I can understand that the young people want to protect themselves. ”

Should it actually come to the situation that in individual cantons there is a risk of vaccine being left because the willingness to vaccinate is declining among those over 15, an earlier publication of the recommendation according to Utzinger would have to be seriously checked.

“EKIF must act now”

Infectiologist Andreas Widmer is clearer: “Now that the vaccine is available and has been tested for 12 to 15-year-olds, the vaccination must be approved for this age category.” Widmer has no understanding that vaccination appointments remain open even though there are people who would like to be vaccinated. “Especially with a view to the summer holidays, it would be a great relief for many families if they could register their children for vaccination now. The EKIF must now publish the recommendation as soon as possible. ”

According to BAG media spokeswoman Masha Foursova, the vaccination recommendation has been prepared by the EKIF and the BAG in recent weeks. Now it will be supplemented with the data of the approval. “The EKIF is currently dealing with the question of how vaccination could be recommended to this group,” says Foursova. The Covid-19 vaccination is voluntary for the whole population. The goal remains to give priority to the people who have a higher risk of getting seriously ill with Covid-19. «This risk increases with age. Accordingly, the exact time when the vaccination starts for adolescents depends on the adults’ willingness to vaccinate and the quantities of Pfizer / Biontech vaccine available. The federal government and the cantons informed as soon as a vaccination recommendation was available for 12 to 15 year olds and the vaccination was available for this age group.

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