The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday recommended a COVID-19 vaccine booster for children ages 5 to 11 when an advisory panel voted to support them at least five months after completing their initial immunization course.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement that she “supported” the vote of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice to increase eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine booster doses. Children ages 5 to 11 should receive a booster dose at least 5 months after their initial series. “
“More than 18 million doses have been given to this age group, we know these vaccines are safe, and we must increase the number of protected children,” Walensky added.
Advisers have considered CDC data that show that protection from the first two shots begins to decline over time and that boosters in the older age group improve performance against severe COVID and hospitalization.
The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a booster dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for the age group as COVID cases continue to rise in the United States.
The U.S. government is pushing to encourage eligible Americans, but less than half of those who have been fully vaccinated have rolled up their sleeves for extra shots.
Pfizer told the meeting that data showed that a third dose of its vaccine had developed a strong resistance against the Omicron variant in healthy children aged 5-11 years.
The CDC also presented safety data showing that the incidence of heart inflammation after vaccination in the age group was significantly lower than in adolescents and young adults.
More than 29% of US children aged 5-11 are considered fully vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer / Bioentech shots. Vaccines are not yet approved for children under 5 years of age.
The Vaccine Committee voted 11 to 1 to recommend additional shots, with one doctor abstaining.
Vanderbilt University Professor. Helen Cape Talbot was the only committee member to vote against the Boosters’ recommendation, arguing that attention should be paid to raising the immunization rate by age.
“The Boosters are great when we get everyone in their first round,” he said.
Companies are already looking at the potential need for redesigned COVID-19 vaccines for the fall to target new forms of concern.
CDC scientist said. Amanda Cohen said the newly designed vaccines may not be available to children right now because pediatric shots are formulated differently from what adults would be given.
(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bangalore and Michael Erman in New Jersey; Additional reporting by Jubi Babu and Ann Maria Shibu in Bangalore; Editing by Bill Barcrott and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)