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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended Thursday that children ages 5 to 11 receive a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to boost their immunityat a time when cases and hospitalizations are rising in many parts of the United States.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky approved the recommendation Thursday night, and also encouraged parents of children in that age group who have not yet been vaccinated so they get their first shot soon.
Walensky’s decision came just hours after the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend boosters for children ages 5 to 12. This recommendation comes just two days after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster vaccine for children in that age group.
Walensky said in a statement: “Today, I endorsed the ACIP vote to expand eligibility for booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Children 5 to 11 years of age should receive a booster dose at least 5 months after their primary series. Vaccination with a primary series among this age group has lagged behind other age groups, leaving them vulnerable to serious disease.”
Along with the recommendation for young children, Walensky underlined recommendation for a fourth dose of COVID vaccine for other groups: “Those over 50 years old and those over 12 years old and immunocompromised should get a second booster dose,” Walensky said.
The CDC cited the recent rise in COVID-19 cases as well as hospitalizations among older Americans for its recommendation.
“While older Americans have the highest coverage of any age group for first booster doses, most older Americans received their last dose (either their primary series or their first booster dose) many months ago, leaving many who are vulnerable without the protection they may need to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death.
COVID-19 vaccines are not yet authorized to be administered to children under 5 years of age.
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