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Coronavirus digest: Germany to offer vaccines to children in 2022

The vaccine will likely be available from the first quarter, but official recommendation could take longer. Meanwhile, Hanoi is set to ease severe lockdown restrictions. Follow DW for the latest.

A high school student receives her vaccination in Düsseldorf, Germany

Children over 12 are already receiving the vaccine in Germany

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that a COVID vaccine for children under 12 will likely be available from the first quarter of 2022. Spahn also expects approval for a vaccine for youth to go through by the beginning of next year.

"I am assuming that the approval for a vaccine for children under 12 years of age will come in the first quarter of 2022," Spahn told Funke media group. "Then we could protect the younger ones even better."

"A recommendation from the Standing Committee on Vaccination [STIKO] will also come a little later in this case," he added.

BioNTech, for example, announced a few days ago that it would apply for approval of its coronavirus vaccine for children between the ages of five and eleven in the coming weeks.

However, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), another medical regulator, said it was unable to give a firm timeframe for possible approval. 

Watch video 01:51

New campaign aims to improve vaccination rate in Germany

Here's a look at the latest coronavirus news from the rest of the world:

Asia-Pacific

India conducted the lowest number of daily COVID-19 tests since mid-August on Sunday, but the health ministry urged local governments not to let their guard down.

States and federally controlled territories carried out 1.18 million tests on Sunday, government data showed on Monday, down from 1.56 million on Saturday. The new figures come after states have dropped compulsory testing for fully vaccinated travelers in recent weeks, as they try to boost their economies by making it easier for people to commute.

New infections have also plateaued at around 30,000 a day as vaccinations have increased substantially. However, some experts say that number could also be due to reduced testing.

Meanwhile, the health ministry has said India will resume exports of COVID-19 vaccines from the next quarter, prioritizing the global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX and neighboring countries first as supplies rise.

 

Watch video 03:07

COVID-19: India fears 'lost generation' of students

Vietnam's capital Hanoi will ease severe lockdown restrictions on Tuesday. Hanoi will allow the resumption of construction sites, while restaurants and cafes will be allowed to offer take-out and delivery in 19 low-risk cities. Since the fourth wave of the virus began in April 2021, Hanoi has reported just over 4,000 cases. Hanoi has vaccinated almost 95% of the adult population with at least one dose.

New Zealand slightly eased restrictions on Monday in Auckland, as the government expressed confidence that there was no widespread regional transmission of the Delta variant. However, restrictions will continue, as the alert level will only be dropped from a four to a three.

Schools and offices must still remain closed, with businesses limited to offering only contactless services. New Zealand reported 22 new cases on Monday, all in Auckland. The country has recorded 3,725 infections and 27 deaths.

Watch video 02:32

New Zealand: 'Zero Covid' increasingly questioned

Laos has locked down its capital Vientiane and barred travel between COVID-hit provinces as cases have soared to a record high. The mayor of the capital, where the bulk of the cases were detected, declared the strict lockdown on Sunday.

For two weeks, residents will have to stay in their homes unless obtaining food, medicine or making their way to a hospital. Travel between seven other hard-hit provinces is banned, while entry into Vientiane requires a quarantine of 14 days.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved the resumption of face-to-face classes in areas deemed at low risk of the virus, with up to 120 schools set to join a two-month pilot reopening. The Philippines is among 17 countries where schools have been closed for the entirety of the pandemic. The country has recorded over 2.37 million cases and nearly 37,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Europe

Pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer said Monday that their jointly produced coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective for chilldren from the ages of 5 to 11.

The statement comes as coronavirus cases among children surge in the United States and in other parts of the world.   

The Czech Republic has begun offering a third dose of a vaccine amid rising infections. The Health Ministry has recommended the booster shot for anyone older than 60, health workers and other vulnerable groups.

Skiers in Austria will need to show their vaccination status, a negative test result or have recovered from the virus in order to use lifts and cable cars this winter. People using lifts also will have to wear full medical N95-type masks, the tourism ministry has reportedly announced.

Americas

The US will lift its travel ban for EU and UK nationals beginning in "early November," according to White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients. 

Inbound travelers from Europe will need to be fully vaccinated and must test negative for the coronavirus within three days of their flight.

European leaders, such as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz, welcomed the move.  The trade organization Airlines For Europe said lifting the ban will boost transatlantic tourism and "reunite families and friends." 

Watch video 03:40

US to lift COVID-19 travel ban: DW's Oliver Sallet reports

The restrictions on travel from Europe were first enacted by former President Donald Trump in March 2020. President Joe Biden, who began his term in January, has kept the restrictions in place due to concerns over the highly contagious delta variant. 

European authorities have previously expressed frustration over the travel restrictions, as the EU had already allowed Americans to visit the bloc since June.

lc, wd/rt (AP, AFP, Reuters)