German vaccine panel recommends COVID shot only for sick small children

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Germany’s vaccine advisory panel on Thursday recommended that Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children from six months to four years should only be given routinely to those at risk of severe disease from the infection.

The head of the panel of 18 appointees, known as STIKO, said there was no clear case for broad use, citing a lack of data to rule out any rare side effects and no signs of the infection causing severe illness in otherwise healthy children.

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The recommendation also covers a version of Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine for the age group but that product is in short supply in Germany at the moment, the expert panel said.

“Everything that is done in medicine should have an indication that is as clear as possible,” STIKO president Thomas Mertens told journalists in a call.

European regulators in October authorized a low-dose version of Pfizer-BioNTech’s first-generation vaccine for children from six months to four years, when given as a three-dose series.

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