HealthDay News — A panel of science advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that a single booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can be given to 5- to 11-year-olds.
The move is expected to be confirmed by a sign-off from CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., and follows authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The third shot can be given at least five months after healthy children complete the two-dose vaccine series, the CDC advisers said. Approval of the booster shots in this age group dovetails with a rise in infections in many areas of the country, and the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices believes children will gain an added layer of protection against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.
According to The New York Times, there was debate among members of the committee as to whether the recommendation should be that children ages 5 to 11 years “should” receive the vaccine or whether the wording should read that they “may” receive it, if their parents or health care provider believes the booster to be necessary. In the end, the experts went with the stronger “should,” given robust evidence of the booster’s effectiveness regardless of age.
The action follows the FDA and CDC authorization in January of a single booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds.