KYid ages 5 to 11 should get booster dose Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccineUS government advisers said on Thursday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention promptly adopted the panel’s recommendation, opening a third COVID-19 shot for otherwise healthy elementary school-age children similar to what has been recommended for everyone. from 12 years old and up.
It is hoped that an additional shot will increase protection for children aged 5 to 11 years as infections are once again on the rise.
“Major mass vaccinations for this age group have lagged behind other age groups, leaving them vulnerable to serious illnesses,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
“We know these vaccines are safe and we must continue to increase the number of children protected,” she said.
Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration Pfizer authorized baby size boosterwill be offered at least five months after the last shot of the youth players.
CDC The next step is to refer people who really need to be vaccinated. Its advisers have debated whether all otherwise healthy 5 to 11 year olds need an extra dose of the drug, especially since so many children have been infected during the seasonal spike big east of omicron variant.
But the US is now averaging 100,000 new cases a day for the first time since February. And finally, CDC advisors point to growing evidence from older children and adults that two primary immunizations plus one booster are providing the best protection against the variants. latest coronavirus.
“This should always probably be a three-dose vaccine,” said Dr. Grace Lee of Stanford University, who chairs the CDC advisory panel.
The booster question isn’t the hottest topic on vaccines: Parents are still anxiously awaiting their chance to Vaccination for children under 5 years old – the only group not yet eligible in the US
Dr Doran Fink of the Food and Drug Administration said the agency was working “as quickly as possible” to evaluate an application from vaccine maker Moderna and was waiting for final data on children. youngest child from rival Pfizer. The FDA’s private advisers are expected to publicly debate data from one or both companies next month.
For children aged 5 to 11 years, it is not clear what the need for reinforcement will be. Only about 30% of that age group have had the initial two doses of Pfizer since getting vaccinated in November.
CDC advisor Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot of Vanderbilt University said that health authorities must do more work in the initial vaccination of children.
“That needs to be a priority,” she said.
Thursday’s decision also means that children aged 5 to 11 with severely weakened immune systems, who were supposed to get the initial three shots, will be eligible for the fourth dose.
Pfizer and partner BioNTech are currently making the only COVID-19 vaccine available to children of all ages in the United States. Those ages 5 to 11 received one-third the dose given to everyone 12 years of age and older.
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.
Vaccines are not always able to prevent milder infections, and the omicron variant has been shown to be able to specifically break through their defenses. But the CDC cited data during the omicron surge that showed unvaccinated 5 to 11-year-olds had double the rate of hospitalization compared with those given the first two doses.
Health authorities say for all ages, vaccines are still available strong protection against the worst outcome of COVID-19, especially after the third dose.
Some people who are particularly at-risk, including those 50 and older, have been offered options second boostor a fourth shot — and the CDC on Thursday also reinforced that recommendation, urging anyone who is eligible to go ahead and get an extra dose.
It remains to be decided whether people need additional shots in the fall, which could be tweaked to better protect against newer coronavirus variants.
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.
Other must-read stories from TIME