Corona vaccination in children: should I or should I not? – Rems-Murr district

In the autumn, there should also be a vaccine adapted to newer corona variants for children and young people and a recommendation for children under 5 years of age. How should parents decide?

“First of all, we simply have to become more tolerant when it comes to corona vaccinations in children,” says Dr. Ralf Brügel, spokesman for the pediatricians in the Rems-Murr district. The subject still leads to hostilities, is even exaggerated into a “religious war”, which in his view is not useful to anyone. Especially not if parents want to make a balanced individual decision for their children. But a balanced decision also means that, according to Brügel, vaccination status should not be linked to the social participation of children and young people. Politicians must ensure that.

His medical assessment has not changed in the last few months.”There is nothing generally right or wrong. From a pediatrician’s point of view, a healthy child should not be expected to have a serious course of a corona infection or long covid. Conversely, the vaccination is also well tolerated well.” So if you feel better getting your child vaccinated, do it and don’t have to justify yourself, nor should parents be criticized for not doing so.

And the unresolved? “We pediatricians hardly vaccinate against Covid 19 at the moment,” he says. This is also because there is still no vaccine adapted to the Omikron corona variant and the effect of the existing vaccine in children leaves much to be desired, as studies show. Even the Minister of Health, Dr. Karl Lauterbach known in a tweet in August: “In the age group 5 to 11 years, the effect of vaccination with BionTech against Omicron variants was disappointingly low. That’s part of the honesty. Hopefully the adapted vaccines will work better.”

Stiko: A vaccination for children from 5 to 11 years

The Standing Committee on Vaccination (Stiko) responded with a pragmatic recommendation:

All children between the ages of 5 and 11 should be vaccinated once against Corona. For children who have been diagnosed with a corona infection, three months should pass after confirmation before vaccination. From 12 to 17 years of age, two vaccinations and one booster vaccination are planned. For children under five years of age, there may be a vaccination recommendation in the autumn – so far it has not been possible to prove that the Biontech vaccine is sufficiently effective for this age group.

Brügel summarizes the situation like this. “Stiko assumes that 90 percent of all children are already ‘infected’ with the corona virus. The rest must be reached through a simple vaccination.” Brügel: “It’s a bit like poking around in the fog. But if you want to follow the Stiko recommendation, you should at least wait for the Omikron-adapted vaccine in the fall.”

In addition, the new vaccine may coincide not only with the start of school, but also with a new autumn wave of infections. Does that change the situation?

“I don’t want to be misunderstood. Corona is a disease that we have to consider and assess as an unprecedented single case,” says Brügel. “But as a pediatrician, I argue for a completely different clientele, such as an internist who addresses patients who are older and with previous illnesses.” Through the exchange with other pediatricians, he knows that in every pediatrician’s practice a serious course of corona or Long-Covid cases has occurred. It should not be trivialized, but it is also not a condition that would alarm him as a pediatrician. His conclusion: According to current science and medical experience, Corona is not a very big threat to his clients, the biggest threat to children is rather a social threat.

Excessive fear of infections is transmitted to children

“Excitement about infections of all kinds has increased significantly since the pandemic,” says Brügel. “And that anxiety is transferred to the children. And that’s very worrying.”

It is, among other things, about parents who now cancel appointments because of a slightly runny nose, or educators who send children home immediately with sticky eyes because of an alleged conjunctivitis, or about an unrealistic idea – also driven by the hygiene rules – about infection-free schools or daycare centers

Especially after the severe corona restrictions, children above all need as much normality and meetings as possible without inhibitions. “Children get sick. Children infect other children and their parents. This is normal, no one can prevent it. If only because some diseases are contagious before the symptoms are visible,” says Brügel. Too much caution would have far worse consequences for children’s development .Last but not least, absenteeism among parents would increase because their children are sometimes sent home for trivial reasons.

Paediatricians against masks and random tests in schools

Against this background, he also resented the public demands from the teachers’ unions that students should wear masks to protect the teachers. “I don’t think it can be the students’ job to protect their teachers through restrictions. Especially since they have now been able to get vaccinated four times and can also wear an FFP2 mask continuously, have also spoken against corona tests for no reason.

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