CDC urges Pfizer booster for children ages 5 to 11
Kids ages 5 to 11 should get a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, advisers to the U.S. government said Thursday.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention quickly adopted the panel’s recommendation, opening a third COVID-19 shot to healthy elementary-age kids - just like what is already recommended for everybody 12 and older.
The hope is that an extra shot will shore up protection for kids ages 5 to 11 as infections once again are on the rise.
“Vaccination with a primary series among this age group has lagged behind other age groups leaving them vulnerable to serious illness,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, in a statement.
“We know that these vaccines are safe, and we must continue to increase the number of children who are protected,” she said.
Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s kid-sized booster, to be offered at least five months after the youngsters’ last shot.
The CDC takes the next step of recommending who actually needs vaccinations. Its advisers debated if all otherwise healthy 5- to 11-year-olds need an extra dose, especially since so many children were infected during the huge winter surge of the omicron variant.
But the U.S. now is averaging 100,000 new cases a day for the first time since February. And ultimately, the CDC’s advisers pointed to growing evidence from older kids and adults that two primary vaccinations plus a booster are providing the best protection against the newest coronavirus variants.
The booster question isn’t the hottest vaccine topic: Parents still are anxiously awaiting a chance to vaccinate kids under 5 - the only group not yet eligible in the U.S.
Dr. Doran Fink of the Food and Drug Administration said the agency is working “as rapidly as we can” to evaluate an application from vaccine maker Moderna, and is awaiting final data on the littlest kids from rival Pfizer. The FDA’s own advisers are expected to publicly debate data from one or both companies next month.