Standing Commission on Vaccination: Ministry of Health replaces almost all members of STICO

AThis Monday, the Ministry of Health announced the list of newly appointed members of the Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO): of the 17 members, so far only five remain represented in the committee, which regularly publishes vaccination recommendations. In November, FAZ already reported plans by Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) to almost completely replace STIKO members.

“STIKO has achieved great success during the pandemic,” explains Lauterbach. “It will now be younger and even more interdisciplinary, with many new members from a wide range of specialist areas. The new team is also formed by leading scientific and practical experts.” “STICO’s independence from political influence has proven its effectiveness and will continue to exist,” says the minister.

Limit the number of planned appeals

In addition to experts from immunology, microbiology, pediatrics, gynecology, general medicine and occupational medicine, STIKO will be expanded in the future to include specialists in the fields of modeling and communication. Committee members will include communications scientist Constanze Rossmann from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and epidemiologist Berit Lange from the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research. Lange is head of the German Society of Epidemiology and representative of the Serious Infectious Disease Modeling Network.

The previous chairman of STIKO is Thomas Mertens.

In accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the deadlines for the appointment of vaccination commissions in other countries, the appointment of STIKO members in the future will be limited to a maximum of three appointment periods of three years each, explains the Federal Ministry of Health. Health. “It also promotes independence.” The spokesman was initially unable to say how it would be regulated. STIKO itself can decide on changes to its rules of procedure, which requires ministerial approval. The rules of procedure currently stipulate that STIKO consists of twelve to eighteen members.

Epidemiologist Jörg Meerpohl from the Cochrane Center in Freiburg, who will continue to be a member of the commission, welcomes the fact that the Ministry of Health continues to emphasize STIKO’s independence from political influence as an important element. He is pleased that there is now clarity regarding the members of STIKO in the new appointment period. From his point of view, it is important that a scientifically thorough approach according to the criteria of evidence-based medicine “remains the flagship of STICO.”

The new appointment period for STIKO members was actually scheduled to begin in March 2023. Its current chairman, Thomas Mertens, and his deputy, Sabine Wicker, will leave. The newly appointed STIKO plans to hold the founding meeting on March 12 and 13, 2024 and will elect its chairman.

Replacing two-thirds of the panel meant a significant loss of experience, as pediatrician Fred Sepp previously explained. He has been a member of STIKO since 1998 and is now leaving. “The new STIKO will probably need some time to familiarize itself with the existing problems and prepare reliable recommendations,” Sepp said. “BMG is certainly aware of this.”

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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