BERLIN - Germany plans to make enough COVID-19 vaccine doses available to offer a first shot to all children aged 12 and over by the end of August, a draft health ministry document showed before a vaccination summit on Thursday.
After a sluggish start to its vaccination rollout, Germany has increased the pace of inoculations and imposed nationwide lockdown measures which are now being lifted.
With more than 40% of the population of around 83 million having received at least one dose, attention has turned to the question of extending vaccinations to adolescents.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will later on Thursday discuss the question with the premiers of Germany's 16 federal states.
Opinion is divided and Germany's main expert panel on vaccinations has expressed caution. Some scientists say that, due to a lack of data on long-term effects, it might be better to vaccinate only adolescents with risk factors.
A document made available before the talks made clear the government wants to push ahead and aims to have offered all 12-18 year olds at least a first shot by the end of August.
"After approval has been granted for people over 12 years old, the government intends to make available the additional vaccine doses required to achieve this goal to the states from step by step for June, July and August," said the document.
The European Medicines Agency could endorse the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 on Friday.
The document said Germany expects to vaccinate about 60% of people in that age group. About 3.18 million doses for each of the first and second vaccination would be needed.
The Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases reported a 6,313 rise in coronavirus cases in Germany on Thursday, taking the total to more than 3.66 million. The seven-day incidence fell to 41 per 100,000 people, down from around 160 a month ago. The death toll is 87,995 people.