Did the death of a German 12-year-old shortly after receiving a vaccine cause German officials to reconsider a policy of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for children? No, that's not true: COVID vaccinations are not mandatory in Germany for children or adults. It is true that a child who had a serious health condition did die shortly after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine.
The policy that was reconsidered by the school district of Cuxhaven was not whether vaccines should be mandatory, but whether children with pre-existing health conditions should be vaccinated, with parental consent, at school vaccination clinics. The district decided that only healthy children would be vaccinated by mobile vaccination teams at the district's schools, and that children with health conditions should only be vaccinated under the guidance and care of their family doctor.
The claim appeared in the headline on an article published by thegatewaypundit.com on November 9, 2021, titled "12-Year-Old Child Dies Two Days After Taking Pfizer Vaccine in Germany - Officials Pull Back on Mandatory Shots for Children" (archived here), which opened:
The district of Cuxhaven, Germany confirmed on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, that a 12-year-old child died two days after taking the Pfizer vaccine. Police are investigating and an autopsy was ordered due to the short interval between vaccination and death. The result of the autopsy is still pending and is expected to be released this week at the earliest. "The current status of the autopsy suggests a connection," Kirsten von der Lieth, press spokeswoman for the district said about the vaccine and the child's death.
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The Gateway Pundit article drew heavily on reporting from the website of Norddeutscher Rundfunk (Northern German Radio). A November 5, 2021, article titled (translated), "After death: District of Cuxhaven only vaccinates healthy students."
After the death of a twelve-year-old after his second dose of corona vaccination, the final autopsy result is still pending. The district of Cuxhaven is meanwhile drawing the first conclusions.
From now on, only children without known previous illnesses should be vaccinated in the schools in the district. All other children should go to their family doctor for a vaccination, as they know better about possible pre-existing conditions, it is said. In the district of Cuxhaven, three mobile vaccination teams are in action on behalf of the district administration. Coincidentally, all three did not have a vaccination appointment at a school on Thursday. There was only one appointment in an Otterndorf school. There the company doctor, who was supposed to vaccinate the students, postponed the appointment to wait for the final result of the autopsy.
The only vaccination that is required by law for children to attend school in Germany is for measles. That law went into effect on March 1, 2020.
In Germany the Standing Committee on Vaccination (Staendige Impfkomission) or STIKO issues recommendations on vaccinations:
The STIKO is an independent advisory group. The recommendations are not legally binding, but by law they form the basis for the federal states' vaccination guidance and the Federal Joint Committee's vaccination directive.
On June 10, 2021 STIKO approved the COVID-19 vaccine for children with pre-existing conditions who are 12 and older in Germany. On August 16, 2021, the STIKO recommendation was updated to include all German children over the age of 12. At this point in time, the lower-dose vaccine for children younger than 12 is not available in Europe as it is in the United States. The European Medicines Agency began evaluating the application to extend approval for vaccination of the 5-11 age group on October 18, 2021.