CDC advisers urge Pfizer booster for children ages 5 to 11
Kids ages 5 to 11 should get a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, advisers to the U.S. government said Thursday.
If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees, as expected, it would open a third COVID-19 shot to healthy elementary-age kids — just like what is already recommended for everybody 12 and older.
The hope is that an extra shot will shore up protection for kids ages 5 to 11 as infections once again are on the rise.
Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer's kid-sized booster, to be offered at least five months after the youngsters' last shot.
The CDC takes the next step of recommending who actually needs vaccinations. Its advisers debated if all otherwise healthy 5- to 11-year-olds need an extra dose, especially since so many children were infected during the huge winter surge of the omicron variant.
But the U.S. now is averaging 100,000 new cases a day for the first time since February. And ultimately, the CDC's advisers pointed to growing evidence from older kids and adults that two primary vaccinations plus a booster are providing the best protection against the newest coronavirus variants.
“This always perhaps should have been a three-dose vaccine,” said Dr. Grace Lee of Stanford University, who chairs the CDC’s advisory panel.
The booster question isn't the hottest vaccine topic: Parents still are anxiously awaiting a chance to vaccinate kids under 5 — the only group not yet eligible in the U.S.
Dr. Doran Fink of the Food and Drug Administration said the agency is working “as rapidly as we can” to evaluate an application from vaccine maker Moderna, and is awaiting final data on the littlest kids from rival Pfizer. The FDA's own advisers are expected to publicly debate data from one or both companies next...