The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee recommended Thursday that a third, booster dose of covid-19 vaccine be given to children ages 5 to 11 at least five months after the second.
Committee members looked at evidence from the CDC that protection from the first two doses was beginning to weaken over time and that booster doses in older age groups were improving protection against serious illness and hospitalization.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday approved a booster dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for this age group as covid-19 cases rise again in the country.
CDC Director Rochelles Waleski said in a statement that she “endorses” the proposal of the Advisory Committee on Vaccine Practices (ACIP) “to extend the dose of booster doses. Children aged 5 to 11 should receive a booster dose for at least five months. after the completion of the basic vaccination cycle “.
“As more than 18 million doses have been given to this age group, we know these vaccines are safe and we must continue to increase the number of children who are protected,” Waleski said.
At the ACIP meeting, Pfizer noted that evidence shows that a third dose of its covid-19 vaccine elicits a strong immune response against the Omicron variant strain in healthy children aged 5 to 11 years.
The CDC also showed that the incidence of Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine-induced inflammation of the heart was much lower in boys aged 5-11 years than in adolescents and young men.
Just over 8 million children in the US between the ages of 5 and 11 – 29% of the total – are considered fully vaccinated against covid-19 with the Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine.
The vaccine has not yet been approved for use in children under 5 years of age.