Apr 14, 2022 - Health

Pfizer says booster hiked immune response in children ages 5 to 11

A health care worker administering a Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to a child at a facility in San Francisco in January 2022.
A health care worker administering a Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to a child at a facility in San Francisco in January. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pfizer-BioNTech said Thursday that, in a trial, a booster dose of its coronavirus vaccine in children ages 5 to 11 increased the level of antibodies that neutralized the original version of the virus and the Omicron variant.

Why it matters: If federal regulators verify the companies' claims, children over the age of 5 could gain access to boosters.

By the numbers: The trial detailed Thursday involved 140 children who received a booster dose six months after their second shot.

  • An analysis of blood samples from a smaller group of 30 of the kids showed that the booster produced a 36-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variant.
  • Data from all participants showed a sixfold increase in antibodies against the original version of the virus.

What's next: Pfizer and BioNTech said they plan to submit a request to U.S. regulators for an emergency authorization of a booster dose for children ages 5 through 11 in the coming days.

  • Moderna is also testing a booster shot for kids.

The big picture: The World Health Organization said in January there was no evidence that healthy children and adolescents needed boosters shots.

  • The Food and Drug Administration expanded COVID-19 vaccine booster eligibility in January to allow children of ages 12 to 15 to receive a third shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Go deeper: CDC recommends second booster shot for Americans over 50

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