Everyone 12 years of age and older has had a booster shot to best protect against the latest coronavirus variants — and some people, including those 50 and older, can choose second booster.
Food and Drug Administration authorization now also opens a third shot to elementary school-aged children – at least five months after their last dose.
There’s one more hurdle: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must decide whether to formally recommend booster shots for this age group. The CDC’s scientific advisers are scheduled to meet on Thursday.
The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine available to children of all ages in the United States. People 5 to 11 years old get one-third of the injection for everyone 12 years of age and older.
Whether elementary school-age children need a booster shot has been overshadowed by fierce parental opposition to vaccinating younger children, those under 5 years old — the only group that hasn’t. eligible in the United States. Both Pfizer and the rival Moderna studied their shots in the youngest children, and the FDA is expected to review data from one or both companies next month.
For kids aged 5 to 11, it’s not clear what the demand for boosters will be. Only about 30% of that age group have had the initial two doses of Pfizer since getting vaccinated in November.
But in a small study, Pfizer discovered a booster that increased the levels of antibodies against the virus in children — including those that can fight omicrons — like a kind of leap. adults receive when additional injections are given.
According to CDC’s count.
Adding to the public confusion, the CDC estimates 3 out of 4 U.S. children of all ages have been infected with coronavirus since the start of the pandemic — many of them. winter omicron waves. However, health authorities encourage vaccination even in people who have previously used COVID-19, to enhance their protection.
Vaccination can’t always prevent milder infections, especially because the omicron and its siblings are better than some earlier variants at bypassing those layers of protection. But health authorities agree that vaccination continues to offer strong protection against the worst outcomes of COVID-19, including hospitalizations and deaths.
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.
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