The German Standing Committee on Vaccination Recommendations (STIKO)
In Germany, the Standing Committee on Vaccination Recommendations (STIKO) develops national recommendations on the use of licensed vaccines. The STIKO consists of 12 to 18 unpaid members, who are appointed by German Federal Ministry of Health for a 3 years membership term. For the 2011-14 term, 17 experts were appointed and represent various disciplines: Pediatrics, family medicine, occupational medicine, virology, immunology, epidemiology, public health, and evidence-based medicine.
STIKO is an independent advisory group, and the recommendations are not legally binding, but by law they form the basis for the federal states’ vaccination guidance and the Joint Federal Committee’s vaccination directive. There are at least 2 closed meetings of STIKO each year. As permanent guest, representatives of the RKI, the Ministry of Health, the Federal States, the national regulatory authority (Paul-Ehrlich-Institute), the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA), the Joint Federal Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Federal Armed Forces participate in the meetings without voting rights.
The Executive Secretariat of STIKO is located at the Immunization Unit of the Robert Koch Institute and is responsible for organizational and scientific matters. The Executive Secretariat organizes and prepares the meetings in cooperation with the STIKO chairperson, and it coordinates requests from the medical community and media related to STIKO recommendations and their implementation. In support of the decision-making process in the working groups and the STIKO, the Secretariat performs systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and drafts the background paper in close collaboration with the members.