Boosting Them Up
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized COVID-19 Omicron booster shots for children as young as five, taking an additional step to help kids stay protected against the virus.
In a statement, the FDA said it had cleared the updated booster from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech for children ages five to 11. The agency also authorized the updated booster from Moderna for children ages six to 17.
Wednesday's news marks a continuing update on the available boosters for children, as the FDA had previously cleared the Pfizer booster for people 12 and over, and the Moderna booster for people 18 and older, per The Wall Street Journal. Children ages five to 11 could have access to the Omicron boosters "in the coming days" if the shots soon receive official clearance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Journal added.
The FDA has continued to push vaccines for kids, particularly as winter approaches. "Since children have gone back to school in person and people are resuming pre-pandemic behaviors and activities, there is the potential for increased risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19," Dr. Peter Marks told the FDA. "Vaccination remains the most effective measure to prevent the severe consequences of COVID-19."
Even as the effort to vaccinate children continues, data from the American Academy of Pediatrics cited by the Journal says that just 31 percent of kids ages five to 11 have completed their primary vaccine series.