FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday authorized a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for healthy children between the ages of 5 and 11.
While COVID-19 has been more serious and deadly in adults and older people, it still has been devastating to children. The CDC reports more than 350 kids ages 5 through 11 have died from COVID-19, so extra protection would be a bonus.
“So, there has been interest among parents in terms of the booster vaccine,” says UCONN Health Infectious Diseases Physician David Banach. “At UCONN health and other hospitals that have vaccine programs, we’re going to work toward expanding our ability to provide vaccines to children, particularly in that 5 to 11 group.”
COVID-19 boosters for kids 12 and up have been available for months, and now the goal is to boost younger children.
The next step in boosting kids ages 5 through 11 could come when the CDC’s scientific advisors meet on Thursday.
Banach acknowledges the slow public knowledge and acceptance of COVID-19 booster shots.
“Individuals are trying to assess whether it’s appropriate for them based on their medical conditions or age, whether they’ve had a covid infection.”
Health experts look ahead to a possible future of COVID-19. Currently, the virus variants are not able to evade vaccine protection, but that future is unclear.
‘”Hopefully working towards an arsenal of treatments and prevention strategies that are specifically targeted against variant changes and subvariants,” Banach says.
He says the antiviral Paxlovid is proving to be successful in treating patients with covid who are at higher risk for now.
“I’m optimistic we’ll see newer antivirals and other types of treatments that’ll be effective looking forward.
And as for when the youngest children, under the age of 5, could get their first vaccinations, Pfizer and Moderna studies are ongoing with the FDA expected to review their data next month.