The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11, the Washington Post reports. With this announcement, everyone in the US 5 years old and older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster, the New York Times adds.
Pfizer and BioNTech reported in April that a booster dose of their vaccine, given six months after the initial two-dose vaccination series, increased antibodies among children in a small clinical trial. The Post notes that some studies of the two-dose regiment suggested that it was less effective in the 5-to-11-year-old age group, as compared to older groups, which it adds could mean that that a third dose could bolster their defenses.
"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 says in a statement.
However, as the Times notes, the vaccination rate among 5-to-11-year olds is only 29 percent, suggesting that booster uptake might be limited.