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Kids 5 to 11 get FDA OK for COVID-19 booster doses

Added 05-17-22 01:10:02pm EST - “CDC is expected to review boosters later this week and endorse their use.” - Arstechnica.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Arstechnica.com: “Kids 5 to 11 get FDA OK for COVID-19 booster doses”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11, the first booster dose for the age group intended to revive waning immune protection.

The authorization comes as the US continues to see COVID-19 cases rise due to the extremely transmissible omicron coronavirus subvariants, specifically BA.2 and BA.2.12.1, which now account for an estimated 51 percent and 47.5 percent of all reported cases, respectively. Transmission levels are considered high in just over 50 percent of US counties, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The seven-day average of new daily cases is nearly 96,000, up 57 percent in the last two weeks, according to data tracking by The New York Times. Hospitalizations are around 22,000, up 26 percent. Daily deaths are averaging around 300.

But some experts highlight that data on the current omicron-subvariant wave is muted because testing sites have shuttered, and many people are relying on at-home testing results that are largely not reported. Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert at Baylor College of Medicine, tweeted over the weekend that the current wave could rival that of the original omicron wave in January. He strongly urged Americans to get vaccinated and boosted and to vaccinate their children.

Though numerous studies have noted that immune protection from vaccines and infections wanes over time—and is particularly weakened by omicron and its subvariants—booster doses can significantly strengthen protection, reducing the risk of infection and transmission while offering strong protection against severe outcomes.

Still, only about 30 percent of the US population is boosted. For children 5 to 11, the vaccination figures are particularly low. Though vaccines have been available for the age group since November, only about 29 percent of children 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated.

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