US advisory panel to weigh in on COVID-19 boosters for children

An advisory panel to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is meeting on Thursday (May 19) to discuss whether to recommend COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for children ages five to 11, a group that is just 29 per cent vaccinated so far.

The US Food and Drug Administration authorised booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those children on Tuesday as COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in the United States.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) could recommend making boosters available for some portion of that age group, but may stop short of saying all children should get the extra shot, experts said.

“Omicron and other Omicron-like variants have caused some degree of illness in children, but it has been less than Delta, so is there sufficient benefit (from a booster)?” said Dr William Schaffner, who serves as the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases liaison to ACIP.

The companies submitted data to the FDA that showed a third dose of their vaccine generated a strong immune response against the Omicron variant in healthy children aged five to 11 years.

Severe disease is relatively rare in the age group, especially for those who have received two shots.


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