(CTN News) – COVID-19 booster shots will be offered to elementary-age kids who are healthy, Pfizer announced Thursday. Health officials in the United States already recommend that everyone 12 and older get one booster dose to ensure the best protection from the newest variants. They recently gave those 50 and older the option of getting a second booster. Pfizer says new studies suggest healthy 5- to 11-year-olds could benefit from another kid-sized shot.
Pfizer and BioNTech said Booster shots were given to 40 youngsters
140 kids who had already had two shots were given a booster six months later, and researchers found that the extra shot generally increased their immune response. Pfizer and BioNTech said in a press release that higher levels of virus-fighting antibodies were found in 30 of the children. The data hasn’t been published or vetted.
While Omicron was surging, Pfizer tested the kid booster. While COVID-19 cases are now much lower in the U.S., in recent weeks an even more contagious version known as BA.2 has become the dominant type locally and globally. The companies hope to ask the U.S. FDA to approve a booster for healthy 5- to 11-year-olds. Data will also be shared with European regulators.
However, vaccinations against the omicron variant of the coronavirus remain effective against severe diseases. COVID-19 is more dangerous to adults, but children can get seriously ill too. Regulators should decide if healthy elementary-age kids need a booster, and if so, when.
Pfizer shots are the only vaccine for U.S. children.
Only Pfizer shots are available to U.S. children. One-third of the dose is administered to those ages 5 to 11. Almost a quarter of the youngest age group has gotten two doses since vaccination opened in November, shortly before omicron struck. Children under 5 are not yet allowed vaccinations in the U.S. Certain 5 to 11-year-olds — those with severely weakened immune systems — are already supposed to get three doses, so they have a better chance of responding.