CDC endorses Pfizer Covid booster for kids 5-11

The agency’s advisory committee approval means 5- to 11-year-olds are eligible for a booster shot at least five months after their second dose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

The agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice voted in favor of giving 5- to 11-year-olds the boosters at least five months after their second dose.

The sign off came as Covid-19 cases are surging again in the United States, fueled by the omicron subvariant, BA.2, and BA.2.12.1, an offshoot of that strain.

Data from the CDC shows that vaccination rates for American children aged 5-11 have lagged behind other age groups, leaving them vulnerable to serious illness. Fewer than 30% of the 28 million children in the age group have gotten two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the data.

While children generally are less likely than adults to get seriously ill from Covid, some do. CDC data shows more than 15,000 children ages 5 to 11 have been hospitalized. At least 189 of them have died.

Clinical trial data presented by Pfizer representatives showed a 10-microgram booster dose for children 5-11 — a third of the dosage given to people 12 and up — raised antibody levels against the omicron variant and the original strain of the coronavirus, which has long been out of circulation.

The omicron variant ripped through the pediatric population this past winter, even among the vaccinated. In February, researchers from the New York State Department of Health reported that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine offered little protection against infection for children 5-11 during the omicron wave, though the CDC found it still protected children against severe illness.

An estimated 75 percent of children 11 and younger had evidence of an infection by February, up from 44 percent in December, a recent CDC report found.

The high infection rate among children led some committee members to consider whether two doses of the vaccine plus an infection obviated the need for a booster shot at this time.

Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot, a CDC advisory committee member and professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University questioned whether children’s original exposure and two doses would give them needed full immunity, eliminating the need for a booster shot.

She submitted the sole “no” vote among committee members.

About Post Author

From the Web

Skip to content