FDA expands booster shots to kids 5-11

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday authorized a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to children between the ages of 5 and 11, extending booster doses to the youngest age group yet.


Experts have stressed the importance of booster shots for older age groups as a key way to increase protection in the face of waning immunity over time from the initial shots, as well as the increased evasiveness of the omicron variant currently circulating.


Now, children 5-11 will be eligible for boosters for the first time.


Data released by Pfizer last month found a 36-fold increase in the level of neutralizing antibodies against the omicron variant, compared to two doses.


“These data reinforce the potential function of a third dose of the vaccine in maintaining high levels of protection against the virus in this age group,” Pfizer said then, adding: “The vaccine was well tolerated with no new safety signals observed.”


Uptake a challenge: Still, uptake for even the initial two shots for children 5-11 has been lagging, indicating that many parents will not get booster shots for their children either.


Only 28 percent of children 5-11 have received the first two shots, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.