Mr Garcia, this week the Standing Vaccination Commission recommended that only children with previous illnesses and with an otherwise increased risk of severe Covid-19 courses be vaccinated. You practice it differently in your practice. You vaccinate – provided you have enough vaccine – any young person who wants it. Why?
I vaccinate all young people who ask for it. I have several reasons for this. Young people suffer very severely and increasingly more from the restrictions that have been in place for a long time. In my practice I observe an increasing number of young people with depressive moods and tendencies to withdraw. According to the WHO definition, health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being” and not just being free from illness and ailments. After more than a year of “screen lessons”, which was initially exciting, resignation and a lack of motivation have long since returned. From teachers I hear the statement: “The students are rotting away.” The teachers reach them less and less.
And the other reasons?
Another reason is the medical situation. In fact, toddlers usually develop mild illnesses up to the beginning of school age, although there are also severe forms. Long-term consequences of a Covid 19 infection are affecting larger children, adolescents and young adults more and more often, even after often only mild or moderate infection with the coronavirus. Extreme exhaustion, breathing and circulatory problems, sleep disorders and pain are the consequences. We now have a vaccine approved and recommended by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Top-class experts from all over Europe, including pediatricians, found that the BioNTech vaccine is safe and suitable for adolescents from the age of twelve. I rely on this and try to protect my adolescent patients from Covid-19 infections.
So do you have enough data?
For me, the level of knowledge imparted by the EMA is absolutely sufficient to vaccinate young people from the age of twelve who wish to do so.
In the United States, Israel and Canada, the youth vaccination campaign is largely unproblematic. There have been isolated reports of cardiac muscle inflammation only in young men.
More than five million young people have been vaccinated without any problems and with great effectiveness. It is still unclear whether the very rarely reported myocarditis has anything to do with the vaccine. All those affected recovered quickly. The national focus of the commissions has become too narrow for me. I have the feeling that the “German fear” is slowing down here and that the young people’s ways out of the pandemic will be blocked. It is not expedient to wait for the very last potential side effect. A whole range of common, useless everyday drugs, if you look closely, have much worse side effects that millions of people can put up with without any problems. I can hardly help children and adolescents with long-term corona consequences. I can only protect them with a vaccination. It is necessary and important.
Should we weight the psychological stress on children and adolescents more strongly when deciding to vaccinate – especially with a view to autumn? Experts agree that there will then be a fourth wave.
In my opinion, absolutely. The fourth wave of infections will come from autumn, that is undisputed. And it will hit the unvaccinated especially. The currently new and also expected future variants are known to be significantly more infectious. Especially for children and adolescents, who will then be exposed to the action unvaccinated and defenseless. As a pediatrician with more than 30 years of professional and vaccination experience, I will not let my young patients run into the open knife of the coming wave of infections.
How many teenagers aged twelve and over have you vaccinated this week?
This week, since the EMA approval and the lifting of the prioritization, I have already vaccinated twelve young people from the age of twelve. I have been vaccinating young people aged 16 and over for a long time.
How do your patients tolerate the vaccination?