CORONAVIRUS

CDC urges Pfizer booster for children ages 5 to 11

May 20, 2022, 5:22 AM | Updated: Jun 25, 2022, 8:55 pm

FILE PHOTO (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)...

FILE PHOTO (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

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.

“This always perhaps should have been a three-dose vaccine,” said Dr. Grace Lee of Stanford University, who chairs the CDC’s advisory panel.

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.

For the 5- to 11-year-olds, it’s not clear how much booster demand there will be. Only about 30% of that age group have had the initial two Pfizer doses since vaccinations opened to them in November.

CDC adviser Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot of Vanderbilt University said health authorities must put more effort into getting youngsters their initial shots.

“That needs to be a priority,” she said.

Thursday’s decision also means that 5- to 11-year-olds with severely weakened immune systems, who are supposed to get three initial shots, would be eligible for a fourth dose.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech currently make the only COVID-19 vaccine available for children of any age in the U.S. Those ages 5 to 11 receive a dose that’s one-third the amount given to everyone 12 and older.

In a small study, Pfizer found a booster revved up those kids’ levels of virus-fighting antibodies — including those able to fight the super-contagious omicron variant — the same kind of jump adults get from an extra shot.

Vaccines may not always prevent milder infections, and the omicron variant proved especially able to slip past their defenses. But CDC cited data during the omicron surge that showed unvaccinated 5- to 11-year-olds had twice the rate of hospitalization as youngsters who got their first two doses.

Health authorities say for all ages, the vaccines are still offering strong protection against COVID-19’s worst outcomes, especially after a third dose.

Some especially high-risk people, including those 50 and older, have been offered the choice of a second booster, or fourth shot — and the CDC on Thursday strengthened that recommendation, too, urging anyone who’s eligible to go ahead and get the extra dose.

Still to be decided is whether everyone will need additional shots in the fall, possibly reformulated to offer better protection against newer coronavirus variants.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

KSL 5 TV Live

Coronavirus

Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

14 days ago

FILE —  Respiratory virus illness activity continues to increase across the US.
(Joe Burbank/Orl...

Emma Benson

‘Not viruses to mess around with’: Experts urge caution during ongoing ‘tripledemic’

Experts say though not as severe as last year, this winter we're seeing another "tripledemic" – rising cases of COVID-19, flu and RSV in Utah.

2 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Emma Benson

‘The ICUs are full:’ Keep yourself and others healthy this holiday

It's time for holiday gatherings, but with more people around us comes a greater risk of getting sick.

2 months ago

Julianna Preece goes through the mountain of medical documents she's acquired for her health condit...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Herriman couple is suing CVS, says 5x Covid vaccine dose mistake caused health problems

A couple is suing a Utah CVS vaccination clinic, saying a nurse’s mistake led to the wife receiving five times the normal COVID-19 vaccine dose and caused serious health issues she’s still dealing with today.

3 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Associated Press

More free COVID-19 tests from the government are available for home delivery through the mail

Americans can order more free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery.

3 months ago

FILE - Doses of the anti-viral drug Paxlovid are displayed in New York, Aug. 1, 2022. The COVID-19 ...

Amanda Seitz, Associated Press

COVID-19 treatments to enter the market with a hefty price tag

The COVID-19 treatments millions of have taken for free from the federal government will enter the private market next week with a hefty price tag.

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

CDC urges Pfizer booster for children ages 5 to 11