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BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s independent vaccination advisory panel on Thursday said it was recommending COVID-19 shots for children aged 5 to 11 with pre-existing conditions or who are in close contact to vulnerable people.

The expert panel also said that young kids without pre-existing conditions can be vaccinated if there is an “individual desire” to do so — a step short of advising that all children in that age group get the shots.

The panel, known by its German acronym STIKO, said in a statement that children aged 5-11 should receive two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, three to six weeks apart.

The recommendation, which isn’t binding and may still be amended after consultation with health officials, means doctors in Germany will likely begin offering vaccinations to younger children next week, when the appropriate shots become available.

About 69.3% of the country’s total population is fully vaccinated.


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