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Q&A: A parents' guide to COVID booster shots for kids 5-11

John Woolfolk, The Mercury News on

Published in Health & Fitness

The FDA’s move comes as cases continue to rise across the country, and the Bay Area has become a national hotspot, prompting Bay Area health officers to recommend everyone wear masks indoors again. Since March the Bay Area has seen its case rate increase five-fold, while California’s has quadrupled.

Q Is the booster the same as the shots my kids had months ago?

A Yes, the booster is a third shot of the same Pfizer vaccine authorized for kids 5-11 last fall, which was given in two 10-microgram doses three weeks apart.

Q Have boosters been OK’d for older kids?

A Yes, the FDA authorized a single 30-microgram dose of Pfizer’s vaccine for those 12 and older on Jan. 3.

Q What about kids under 5 who have no vaccine? When’s that coming?

 

A That’s still unclear. In December, Pfizer announced that studies of a two-shot, lower-dose vaccine in development for kids who are from 6 months to 4 years old found insufficient immune response among older children in that group. It said it was evaluating a three-dose regimen, and the company said Tuesday that trial “is ongoing” and “initial data is expected in the coming weeks.” Moderna also has asked for authorization of its shots in kids 6 months to 6 years. The FDA’s vaccine experts will consider vaccines in younger populations next month.

Q Does any data show how effective this booster is for kids?

A Pfizer said it provided data that showed children 5-11 “had a robust immune response with a favorable safety profile” to the third shot given at a time when omicron was the prevailing variant. The FDA said antibody responses, which help the body ward off infection, were evaluated in 67 study participants who received a booster dose 7 to 9 months after their initial shots, and that antibody levels rose a month after the booster.

Q What does that mean for real-world protection against infection and severe disease?

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