ADPH: Children ages 5-11 are now eligible for updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters
Published 11:56 am Thursday, October 13, 2022
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday the expansion of the use of updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5 through 11 years.
This follows the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech for children ages 5 through 11 years, and from Moderna for children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years.
Updated COVID-19 vaccines add Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to the current vaccine composition, according to a release.
The CDC reports that this helps to restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination and targets recent Omicron variants that are more transmissible and immune-evading.
Booster doses use reduced amounts of the original vaccines. Only individuals who have completed their primary vaccination series (two doses of Pfizer, Moderna, or Novavax or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine) are eligible to receive the updated bivalent booster. Previously vaccinated people may receive either the Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster, regardless of which primary series vaccine or original booster dose they had received before. The new Omicron-targeting booster will be available at least two months after their last dose, whether that was their primary vaccination series or an earlier booster.
The original formulations of Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax will continue to be used for the primary series. With rare exceptions, almost all individuals 6 months and older can receive the COVID-19 vaccines.
Alabama Department of Public Health Medical Officer Dr. Wes Stubblefield said both children and adults are still being hospitalized for COVID-19.
He added, “Parents should consider boosting their child, especially if their child or someone in the family is at high risk or just to prevent them from feeling any side effects from COVID that could keep your child home from school.”
Annual influenza vaccine is also recommended for ages 6 months and older, and flu shots can be received at the same visit along with their COVID-19 vaccine.
Information about COVID-19 and influenza vaccine providers and clinics can be found at alabamapublichealth.gov. Locations where COVID-19 vaccine is available can be viewed at vaccines.gov/.