Following a decision reached by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on May 19, children ages 5 to 11 may now receive a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine under an emergency use authorization (EUA). Previously included in this EUA are children ages 12 to 17. Similar to the guidelines for older individuals, this younger population may receive a booster dose at least five months after their second or additional dose.
The process to include this age group months following the decision to allow older children is based on clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The approval of the booster in these children came out when enough data was available to support the effectiveness and safety of the single booster dose,” said Roukaya Al Hammoud, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist with UT Physicians and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston.
Emerging data suggests that the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine declines after the second dose in younger children.
“The booster dose provides continued protection against COVID-19 in children, which we learned was critical during the recent omicron surge,” she explained. “During that wave, we had more children sick and hospitalized.”
Al Hammoud stresses the importance of keeping children up to date on all their immunizations, including these COVID-19 booster recommendations, to reduce pediatric COVID-19 cases in schools and other settings.
Another way to help your children stay safe and healthy is to reinforce everyday safety measures.
“Hand hygiene remains an essential, yet simple way to keep children safe and prevent the spread of contagious viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), flu, pink eye, and COVID-19,” Al Hammoud shared.
For additional information on the COVID-19 vaccine and children or to schedule an appointment for your child, visit our vaccine page.