WASHINGTON, DC – October 1, 2022 – On October 12th, The FDA has granted an emergency use authorization to the Moderna and Pfizer pharmaceutical companies for their updated COVID-19 boosters for children 5 years and older and adolescents. The new boosters became available September 2nd. The authorization is significant before a possible fall surge of COVID cases as seen with many other viral respiratory diseases like the flu. Groups of children and adolescents are in school, an indoor environment which has been linked to a higher risk of spread of these illnesses.
The updated COVID booster is bivalent, which means that it targets 2 versions of the COVID virus, the original virus and the new dominant BA.4 and BA.5 variants. The BA.5 strain accounts for almost 90% of all COVID infections in the U.S. The remainder of U.S. infections are due to the BA.4 strain. This new booster will replace the previous booster shot that had targeted only the original version of the virus. However, the original vaccine will still be used for persons who have not received the primary vaccination series.
The updated booster can be administered to people under specific conditions. Eligible persons must be at least 2 months after any prior COVID-19 shots and have had the primary vaccination series. The CDC advises that people who recently had COVID consider delaying their boosters until 3 months after their symptoms started or after a positive COVID test if they were asymptomatic.
On August 30th, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said via a statement about the updated booster, “They can help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination and were designed to provide broader protection against newer variants.” It takes between 1 to 2 weeks after you get the booster for the antibodies to rise significantly.
Children and adolescents have had a much lower rate of the primary vaccination series than other age groups. According to the CDC, only 31% of children 5 to 11 years old and 58% of 12-to-17-year-olds have completed this series. Booster shots are available at the Department of Public Health Coxe Avenue vaccination clinic, pharmacies, community health centers and rural health clinics.
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Contact: Dr. Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, email@example.com