The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to Pfizer’s booster COVID-19 vaccine dose for kids aged 5-11 Tuesday.
The expanded EUA means all Americans who are eligible to get a primary series of the vaccine are now also eligible for a booster shot. The FDA said kids aged 5-11 can get the booster as soon as five months after their second dose of the initial Pfizer vaccine regimen.
WASHINGTON (AP) — US authorizes COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for kids ages 5 to 11. Next step: CDC recommendation later this week.
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) May 17, 2022
Children have faced a far lower risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 than adults for the entire pandemic, something the FDA acknowledged in its press release about the EUA. Only 359 kids in the 5-11 age group have died with the virus since the pandemic began, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also recently determined that a majority of kids in the United States have been infected with the virus at least once already, granting them some level of natural immunity.
“While it has largely been the case that COVID-19 tends to be less severe in children than adults, the omicron wave has seen more kids getting sick with the disease and being hospitalized, and children may also experience longer term effects, even following initially mild disease,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said Tuesday. (RELATED: White House Posts Blatant Disinformation About Biden And COVID-19)
The last remaining group of Americans not authorized to get vaccinated are kids under five years of age, although the FDA and CDC are set to take up a possible EUA for that age group this summer. Some parents have been clamoring for the decision to come sooner, but the FDA previously said that there was not enough evidence the vaccines were effective in very young children.