Germany will start vaccinating children aged over 12 against COVID-19 from June 7, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on May 27 after consultations with state government leaders.
“Every citizen will be offered a vaccination by the end of the summer. This also includes those who are now likely to be included in this vaccination offer, namely 12- to 16-year-old children,” Merkel said at a press conference.
June 7 has already been set as the date to lift vaccine prioritization for all adults.
Merkel also urged patience, saying that not every child would immediately get an appointment.
Merkel also said that those who want to get vaccinated will receive at least one dose by the end of August, roughly before the new school year begins.
However, Merkel also said that schools will not require students to be vaccinated.
“The main message to parents is: there will be no compulsory vaccinations,” Merkel said.
“There should be no indirect coercion for parents,” Merkel added.
The announcement comes a day before the European Medicines Agency is expected to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is already approved for use for 12-year-olds and above in Canada and Singapore.
Once approved, Germany’s Standing Committee on Vaccinations (STIKO) will give its recommendations for those aged above 12 years.
STIKO has already indicated that it plans to recommend the vaccine only for children in risk groups, such as those with underlying health complications.
According to government data, Germany has administered 47.4 million vaccine doses nationwide with 15.7% of the general population fully vaccinated and 41.5% received at least one dose.
Germany reported 6,313 new cases and 269 new deaths, bringing the tallies to 3,662,490 cases and 87,995 deaths, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute.