CDC, FDA authorize COVID-19 Omicron booster shots for kids
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday recommended a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for children as young as 5, aimed at the Omicron variant, hours after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the shot.
The big picture: The announcement comes as the White House continues to monitor a rise in the COVID-19 subvariants emerging and evolving throughout the world.
- CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed off on a decision memo expanding the use of the shots without waiting for a meeting of the CDC’s advisory committee, CNBC reports.
- With approval from the CDC and the FDA, pharmacies can now begin administering the shots as soon as they've received the dose shipments.
Details: The FDA’s emergency use authorizations apply to the Moderna and Pfizer bivalent vaccines.
- The Moderna shot is approved for children as young as 6 years old, and the Pfizer dose is approved for children as young as 5.
- The FDA said the booster shot should be taken "at least two months following completion of primary or booster vaccination."
- People who receive the Omicron booster “may experience similar side effects” as earlier booster doses, the FDA said.
What they’re saying: “Since children have gone back to school in person and people are resuming pre-pandemic behaviors and activities, there is the potential for increased risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19," said Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in a statement.
- “While it has largely been the case that COVID-19 tends to be less severe in children than adults, as the various waves of COVID-19 have occurred, more children have gotten sick with the disease and have been hospitalized."
- "Children may also experience long-term effects, even following initially mild disease," Marks said. "We encourage parents to consider primary vaccination for children and follow-up with an updated booster dose when eligible.”
Editor's note: This story was updated with additional information.