US authorizes COVID-19 booster vaccines for children

The United States on Wednesday authorized updated COVID-19 booster shots for children up to 5 years old, seeking to extend protection before winter.

Modified boosters for those 12 and older were released last month. These are adjusted doses to better combat the omicron variant, currently the most common and contagious. While there is no rush, health authorities have advised people to seek extra protection ahead of holiday gatherings.

With the measure, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the green light for elementary school children to also receive the updated boosters, one made by Pfizer for children 5 to 11 years old, and another by Moderna for those up to 6 years old. .

Americans may be tired of repeated calls to beef up against COVID-19, but experts say the updated shots have an advantage: They contain half the prescription that targeted the original strain of coronavirus and half the protection against dominant versions of omicron BA.4 and BA.5.

These combined or “bivalent” boosters are designed to amplify immune defenses so people are better protected against serious illness.

Up-to-date bracing is “extremely important” to keeping kids healthy and in school, said Dr. Jason Newland, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Washington University in St. Louis.

Parents should know that “there is no concern from a safety perspective with bivalent vaccines, whether Moderna or Pfizer,” Newland added.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The HPD is solely responsible for all content.

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