Vaccinations are among the most important and effective measures to protect us from infectious diseases. In Germany, the Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) prepares vaccination recommendations for children, adolescents and adults, considering the benefits both to those vaccinated and the population as a whole.

Based on STIKO’s recommendations, the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) stipulates the details of coverage of immunisation costs by the health insurance funds. Beyond this entitlement shared by all persons insured under the statutory health insurance scheme, the health insurance funds can include cost coverage of additional vaccinations in their non-statutory benefits. Those can include, for instance, certain travel vaccinations.

For persons with private health insurance, cost coverage of immunisations is regulated in their insurer’s contractual terms.

Basic immunisation for babies, children and adolescents

STIKO’s recommendations consider the optimum timing for building vaccine-derived immunity (basic immunisation). Since some infectious diseases tend to be much more severe in infants and young children than in older children, STIKO recommends that the first vaccinations be given as early as a few weeks after birth. A recommended vaccination schedule exists for the individual vaccinations. An overview of all recommended vaccinations is provided by the STIKO Immunisation Schedule (PDF, 246 KB, not accessible).

Depending on the age of the children and adolescents, STIKO recommends immunisation against the following infectious agents and diseases:

  • Rotavirus
  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)
  • Polio (poliomyelitis)
  • Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Meningococcus B
  • Meningococcal C
  • Pneumococci
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
  • Chicken pox (varicella)
  • HPV (human papillomavirus)

Combination vaccines are available for some immunisations, allowing for immunity against several infectious diseases to be achieved by getting a single shot. Those include the STIKO-recommended hexavalent vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), whooping cough (pertussis) and hepatitis B as well as the combination vaccines against measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and, if appropriate, chickenpox (MMRV).

Boosters for children and adolescents

For some vaccines, one or two booster doses are recommended during childhood and adolescence:

  • two diphtheria boosters
  • two tetanus boosters
  • two whooping cough (pertussis) boosters
  • one polio booster

Combination vaccines are also available for booster shots.

Standard and booster vaccinations for adults

STIKO recommends that, depending on their age, all adults should get vaccinated or boostered regularly as follows:

  • Diphtheria and tetanus booster (recommended every ten years)
  • Booster against whooping cough (pertussis) (one-time booster dose, as a combination vaccine with the next scheduled booster against diphtheria and tetanus)
  • Measles (for people born after 1970 who are unvaccinated, have an ambiguous vaccination status or who were only vaccinated once as children)
  • COVID-19 basic immunity (≥ 3 antigen exposures, at least one of which through vaccination)

People aged 60 or over:

  • COVID-19 basic immunity (≥ 3 antigen exposures (vaccination or infection), at least one of which through vaccination) plus an annual booster shot in autumn
  • Flu (influenza) (annually in autumn)
  • Pneumococci
  • Shingles (herpes zoster)

Additional vaccinations for unvaccinated adults upon consultation with the attending doctor.

Immunisation during pregnancy

  • Flu (influenza)
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)
  • COVID-19 basic immunity (≥ 3 antigen exposures (vaccination or infection), at least one of which through vaccination)

A certain timing is recommended for vaccinations in pregnancy, to be scheduled in consultation with the doctor.

Indication-based vaccination

Individual or several vaccinations are recommended for certain groups of persons with a higher risk of infection, disease or complications as well as to protect others. An example is the vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) that is recommended in certain regions of Germany (map of TBE risk areas, german) or vaccination against the Mpox virus (monkey pox) for persons at a higher risk of exposure and infection.

Recommended occupational vaccinations

Vaccinations can also be recommended for occupational reasons to address a higher occupational risk and/or to protect others while working. For further information, please contact your doctor.

Last change: 29. January 2024
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