FDA clears updated coronavirus booster for kids as young as 5

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized an updated coronavirus booster shot for children as young as 5, so it’s likely these shots will hit the market soon.

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, must recommend these vaccines before they can be given — which seems guaranteed. The CDC has said it will not call outside advisers on the matter.

FDA Grants Emergency Use Authorization to Pfizer-BioNTech Renewed Booster Injection for Children 5 to 11 Years of Age. Previously, it had been approved for individuals 12 years of age and older. The agency approved Moderna’s bivalent booster for children ages 6 to 17. It has previously been licensed for use by persons 18 and older.

“As children have returned to school in person and people are resuming pre-pandemic behaviors and activities, the risk of exposure to the virus that causes covid-19 may increase,” Peter Marks, the FDA’s top vaccine official, said in a statement. “Vaccination remains the most effective measure to prevent severe consequences of covid-19, including hospitalization and death.”

Whether parents will get their kids vaccinated with the reconstituted booster is far from clear. Since the FDA launched the booster for the elderly population in late August, its uptake has been disappointingly slow. One-third of adults say they eventually plan to get these vaccines, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

The Biden administration has been urging adults to get modified boosters amid concerns that cooler weather will bring a surge in new Covid-19 cases as people move indoors and the spread of respiratory infections.

The reconstituted boosters are bivalent – they include components of the original strain of the virus and the omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5, which make up about 80% of the circulating virus, According to the CDC. As the coronavirus continues to mutate, the updated version is designed to better protect against covid-19. Health authorities say boosters are needed to restore protection that has weakened since previous vaccinations, and that the new variants are more transmissible and able to evade immune defenses.

The updated booster can be administered at least two months after the initial two-dose series or the previous booster.

Vaccination of children and adolescents with the initial two-shot series has lagged. According to an analysis of CDC data by the American Academy of Pediatrics, only 31 percent of children ages 5 to 11 received two vaccines, and 58 percent of children ages 12 to 17 completed the series.

Authorization of the bivalent booster for children under 5 will take several months, FDA officials said.

The federal government purchased more than 170 million doses of bivalent covid-19 vaccine boosters for distribution as part of a campaign planned in the fall and early winter to strengthen protection against circulating strains.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Newest: The CDC has relaxed many of its recommendations to fight the coronavirus, a strategic shift that puts more of the responsibility on individuals rather than schools, businesses and other institutions to limit the spread of the virus.

Variants: BA.5 is the latest omicron sub-variant, and it quickly became the predominant strain in the United States. Here’s what to know about it and why vaccines offer only limited protection.

vaccine: vaccine: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 12 years of age and older get an updated coronavirus booster designed to target both the original virus and the now circulating omicron variant. You are eligible for the vaccine if it has been at least two months since your original vaccine or last booster vaccine. Meanwhile, an initial series of vaccines for children under 5 was launched this summer. Here’s what to know about how your previous infection and booster history can affect the vaccine’s efficacy.

guide: CDC guidance has been confusing—if you have the new coronavirus, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to continue wearing your face covering.

Where is the matter? Check out the latest coronavirus counts in the U.S. and around the world. The omicron variant is the most recent spread.

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