A New Covid-19 Vaccine is Now Available for Infants as Young as 6 Months
Children as young as six months old can now receive an upgraded Covid-19 vaccine.
On Thursday, the US Food and Drug Administration approved revised Covid-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech for use in children aged 6 months to 5 years.
Bivalent vaccinations target both the original strain and the BA.4/5 Omicron strains. Bivalent vaccinations had previously been approved as a booster for people aged 5 and up.
“More children now have the option to upgrade their protection against COVID-19 with a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said in a statement.
Not all young children are eligible for a new vaccine:
- Children aged 6 months to 5 years who got the original, two-dose Moderna vaccination are eligible for a single booster of the updated bivalent Moderna vaccine two months after the primary immunization series is completed.
- Children aged 6 months to 4 years who have not begun or received the third dose of the Pfizer vaccine’s three-dose primary series will get the updated Pfizer vaccine as the third dose of the primary series.
- At this time, children aged 6 months to 4 years who have completed the three-dose primary series of the original Pfizer vaccination are ineligible for an updated booster dose.
“Children in this age range who have already finished their primary series should be protected against the most devastating effects from the presently circulating omicron strain.”
The evidence to justify providing these youngsters with an updated bivalent booster dose is coming in January. “The FDA is dedicated to analyzing those data as soon as feasible,” the agency stated in its announcement.
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Covid-19 immunizations have been delayed in general among young children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, less than 5% of children under the age of five are fully immunized against the coronavirus, having completed their initial set of immunizations. 73% of people aged 5 and older have been vaccinated, with 13% having been vaccinated and boosted.
The FDA approval comes at a time when the United States is dealing with high levels of respiratory viruses such as flu and RSV, as well as growing Covid-19 hospitalizations.