The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is suggesting that 5- through 11-year-old kids should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.
The CDC's press release indicates that more than 4.8 million kids in that age bracket have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while 15,000 ended up in the hospital, and more than 180 passed away.
"Today, I endorsed ACIP’s vote to expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses. Children 5 through 11 should receive a booster dose at least 5 months after their primary series," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
"Vaccination with a primary series among this age group has lagged behind other age groups leaving them vulnerable to serious illness. With over 18 million doses administered in this age group, we know that these vaccines are safe, and we must continue to increase the number of children who are protected. I encourage parents to keep their children up to date with CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations," Walensky said.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration altered the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to clear a booster shot for kids in that age range.
"The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is effective in helping to prevent the most severe consequences of COVID-19 in individuals 5 years of age and older," director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Peter Marks said.
"Since authorizing the vaccine for children down to 5 years of age in October 2021, emerging data suggest that vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 wanes after the second dose of the vaccine in all authorized populations. The FDA has determined that the known and potential benefits of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age at least five months after completing a primary series outweigh its known and potential risks and that a booster dose can help provide continued protection against COVID-19 in this and older age groups," Marks said.
There have been about 1 million total COVID-19 deaths so far in the U.S. — the CDC places the number a bit shy of the 1 million mark, while Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center places the figure slightly above 1 million.
"It's estimated that if people had been vaccinated to a much greater extent right now that vaccines would've avoided at least a quarter of those deaths, namely about 250,000," National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci said last week. Fauci is also the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden.