(AP) – U.S. regulators on Tuesday authorized a COVID-19 booster shot for healthy 5 to 11-year-olds, hoping an extra dose of the vaccine will boost their protection against infection. again increased.
Everyone 12 years and older has had to get a booster shot to best protect against the latest coronavirus variants – and some people, including those 50 and older, may choose to increase their dose. second power.
Food and Drug Administration authorization now also opens the third shot of Pfizer’s vaccine to elementary school-aged children — at least five months after their last dose.
There’s one more hurdle: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must decide whether to formally recommend booster shots for this age group. The CDC’s scientific advisers are scheduled to meet on Thursday.
Pfizer and partner BioNTech make the only COVID-19 vaccine available to children of all ages in the United States. Ages 5 to 11 receive one-third of the injection for everyone 12 years of age and older.
Whether elementary school-age children need a booster shot has been overshadowed by the outcry among parents about vaccinating younger children, those under 5 – the only group are not eligible in the United States. Both Pfizer and rival Moderna are studying their shots in the youngest children, and the FDA is expected to review data from one or both companies next month.
For kids aged 5 to 11, it’s not clear what the demand for boosters will be. Only about 30% of that age group have had the initial two doses of Pfizer since getting vaccinated in November.
But Pfizer’s vaccine “is effective in helping to prevent the most severe consequences of COVID-19 in people 5 years of age and older,” said FDA vaccine director Dr. Peter Marks. “A booster dose may provide continued protection against COVID-19 in this and older age groups. “
In one small study, Pfizer discovered a booster that increased the levels of antibodies against the virus – including those that can fight the super-infectious omicron variant – like jump that adults receive after an additional injection.
Although the coronavirus is more dangerous to adults than children, young children can become seriously ill – and more than 350 children aged 5 to 11 have died, according to CDC figures.
Adding to the public confusion, the CDC estimates that 3 in 4 US children of all ages have been infected with coronavirus since the pandemic began – many of whom have had winter omicrons. However, health authorities encourage vaccination even in people who have previously used COVID-19, to enhance their protection.
With omicron subtypes now spreading, the United States averages about 91,000 cases reported each day, compared with about 57,000 just two weeks ago. That’s a small fraction of the infections seen during the brutal winter spike – but experts also say it’s too low a number because testing has dropped and home tests are often not reported.
Vaccination can’t always prevent milder infections, especially because the omicron and its siblings are better than some earlier variants at bypassing those layers of protection. But health authorities agree that vaccination continues to offer strong protection against the worst outcomes of COVID-19, including hospitalizations and deaths.
The Associated Press Health and Science Division receives support from the Howard Hughes Health Institute’s Science Education Department. AP is solely responsible for all content.
https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/05/17/fda-clears-covid-booster-shot-for-healthy-kids-ages-5-to-11/ FDA Clears COVID Booster Shot For Healthy Kids Ages 5 To 11 – CBS Baltimore