Although children usually only contract Covid-19 mildly, more and more of them are becoming infected with the virus. Since there is still no approved vaccine for the youngest children under the age of twelve, they are particularly dependent on protecting themselves and avoiding contact with infected persons as much as possible. However, this is difficult if there are risks lurking in their daily environment, for example from educators or teachers. For this reason, pediatricians are now calling for mandatory vaccination for these and other occupational groups.
"If many employees in daycare centers, schools and clinics continue to refuse vaccinations, lawmakers should seriously consider making vaccinations mandatory in these sensitive areas," Thomas Fischbach, president of the Professional Association of Pediatricians and Adolescents (BVKJ), told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. "Those who deal with vulnerable groups and refuse their own immunization have turned off their minds."
In his demands, Fischbach went beyond the contacts of children and adolescents. Company doctors in clinics would have to remind staff there of their duty to protect sick people from infection. Those who do not do so must suffer consequences "that hurt. For clinics and nursing homes, the Infection Protection Act offers the possibility of dismissing vaccination refusers: "If there are still outbreaks in nursing homes after months of vaccine surplus, you have to tighten the reins, and lack of skilled workers must not be a counterargument."
Admittedly, the vaccination rate in these professions is much higher than in the general population, where 64 percent are fully protected. In June, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported a vaccination rate of almost 85 percent among medical staff and teachers. In France, mandatory vaccination for healthcare and nursing professionals has been in place since mid-September. The delta variant of Sars-Cov-2 is also highly contagious for minors. According to the RKI, the seven-day incidence among 100,000 inhabitants in the total population recently averaged 74 per week. Almost the same figure applies to children under the age of four, who are not vaccinated but are often cared for at home.
In the group of five- to nine-year-olds, i.e. in kindergartens and elementary schools, the incidence of 156 is twice as high as the population average. In the cohort aged ten to 14, the figure is as high as 196, and 142 for children aged 19 and over. The figure would probably be much higher if more than one-third of children aged twelve and over had not been fully vaccinated.
The infection rate among minors is currently higher than at the height of the pandemic before Christmas. At that time, the overall incidence was 210, and only 143 among those aged ten to fourteen. So far, only 26 people under 20 have died from Covid-19, according to the RKI. Among those over 70, the number is nearly 80,000. According to the DIVI registry of emergency medicine physicians, only one percent of Corona patients in intensive care units are up to 17 years old, currently 14 people.
Photo by Mufid Majnun