According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children as young as five years old will soon be authorized to get the updated COVID-19 booster vaccine beginning in the middle of October.
“I’m confident that we’re only a matter of weeks away,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research
This new updated COVID-19 booster vaccine will not only fight against COVID-19 but will also fight against the omicron variant and other variants like BA.4 and BA.5.
This new booster vaccine was authorized by the FDA at the end of August. Pfizer’s booster vaccines were made available to people 12 and older and Moderna’s updated vaccine was made available to people 18 and older.
Dr. Alok Patel, a pediatrician at Stanford Children’s Health and an ABC News medical contributor, said tailoring a vaccine against the most widely circulating variant is a similar approach used against the influenza virus, and she would not be surprised if this is an approach we see, seasonally, with COVID-19.
“It’s critical parents not only get their children vaccinated but stay up to date about news on upcoming boosters,” said Patel. “While data and information become available regarding the omicron-specific booster for kids, I would encourage parents to make sure their kids have completed their primary vaccine series to prevent any delays.”
The CDC said that when the updated COVID-19 booster vaccine is made available to young children, Pfizer vaccines will be for children ages five to 11 and the Moderna vaccine for children ages five to 17.
“There are a lot of kids ages five to 11 out there who haven’t had their primary series, so you can’t get the updated booster until you’ve had the primary series. So it’s a good idea to think about getting your child vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Marks.
The CDC said in the guide that states would be able to start ordering the updated Pfizer booster vaccine for children on Monday.
“There will be a sufficient but finite supply of pediatric bivalent COVID-19 vaccines, which should be directed to providers with expected demand among eligible patients,” the CDC guide states. The federal government recently released more than 10 million doses of the Moderna shots that had been held up due to a safety inspection.
Dr. Sarah Meyer, Chief Medical Officer of CDC’s Immunization Services Division, emphasized that parents should get their kids vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible.
“We want to encourage everybody to stay up to date on their vaccines, including children because you just never know when… you might be exposed or when you might get sick,” Meyer said shortly after Marks spoke. “We know that children are getting sick. They’re going to the hospital and there are sadly children who have died from COVID.”