Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO)
In Germany, the Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) develops national recommendations for 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 period of 3 years. The experts represent various fields such as pediatrics, family medicine, occupational medicine, virology, immunology, epidemiology, public health, and evidence-based medicine.
The STIKO is an independent advisory group. The recommendations are not legally binding, but by law they form the basis for the federal states’ vaccination guidance and the Federal Joint Committee’s vaccination directive. There are at least two closed STIKO meetings each year. As permanent guests, representatives of the RKI, the Ministry of Health, the Federal States, the national regulatory authority for vaccines (Paul-Ehrlich-Institut), the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA), the Federal Joint Committee, the Federal Foreign Office, and the German Bundeswehr participate in the meetings (without voting rights).
The Executive Secretariat of the STIKO located in the RKI’s immunisation unit (unit 33) is in charge of organisational and scientific matters. It prepares the meetings in cooperation with the STIKO chairperson and coordinates requests from the medical community and the 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 background papers in close collaboration with the members.