The FDA Has Approved A Covid Booster Shot For Children Ages 5 To 11
The news comes as Covid cases are on the rise throughout the country.
As Covid cases are on the upswing after a precipitous drop at the end of January, many are concerned about another surge of positive cases. But some parents will have the opportunity to add an extra layer of protection that was previously unavailable. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for a booster dose of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Children should be at least five months out from the completion of the primary vaccine series before receiving this single booster dose.
According to a statement from the FDA, the EUA for the booster is based on data that show the antibody level against the SARS-CoV-2 virus one month after the booster dose was increased significantly compared to before the booster dose — children who had received the booster had 36 times more omicron fighting antibodies. This is good news, particularly in light of the fact that the efficacy of the initial vaccine dropped significantly in the face of the Omicron variant, from 68% to just 12%.
In a statement, FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf noted that while Covid tends to be less severe in children than adults, protection should nevertheless be taken seriously. “The omicron wave has seen more kids getting sick with the disease and being hospitalized, and children may also experience longer term effects, even following initially mild disease,” he said.
And yet despite the fact that efficacy dwindled as new variants emerged, it remains the case that infection, serious illness, and death were more common among unvaccinated individuals of any age than among those who had received the jab, suggesting that even diminished protection was better than no protection at all. One study in Nature indicated that vaccinated individuals, particularly those who were boosted were less likely to spread the virus even if they themselves were ill.
“The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is effective in helping to prevent the most severe consequences of COVID-19 in individuals 5 years of age and older,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. “The FDA has determined that the known and potential benefits of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine ... outweigh its known and potential risks and that a booster dose can help provide continued protection against COVID-19 in this and older age groups.”