(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the updated bivalent COVID-19 booster for younger children Wednesday.
The Pfizer booster has been authorized for children aged 5 and older and the Moderna booster for children aged 6 and older.
When the new boosters were initially authorized in September, the Pfizer booster was only available for those aged 12 and older and the Moderna booster for those aged 18 and older.
The FDA says children can receive the booster at least two months after completing their primary series or receiving a separate booster dose.
“Since children have gone back to school in person and people are resuming pre-pandemic behaviors and activities, there is the potential for increased risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA, said in a statement. “Vaccination remains the most effective measure to prevent the severe consequences of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death.”
“While it has largely been the case that COVID-19 tends to be less severe in children than adults, as the various waves of COVID-19 have occurred, more children have gotten sick with the disease and have been hospitalized. Children may also experience long-term effects, even following initially mild disease,” Marks added.
The updated booster specifically protects against the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which account for the majority of COVID-19 infections in the U.S.
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