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CDC expands use of updated COVID-19 vaccines for kids as young as 6 months

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Deborah Sampson, left, a nurse at a University of Washington Medical Center clinic in Seattle, gives a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shot to a 20-month-old child, June 21, 2022, in Seattle.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday signed off on the use of bivalent COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months through 5 years.

The move, following the Food and Drug Administration’s greenlight on Thursday, will allow the updated vaccines to be administered to the youngest population starting immediately.

While the vaccines are authorized in adults as a booster only, it’s a little more complicated for young kids. 

Children ages 6 months through 5 years who previously completed a two-dose Moderna primary series are eligible to receive a Moderna bivalent booster 2 months after their final primary series dose. 

Children ages 6 months through 4 years who are currently completing a three-dose Pfizer primary series will receive a Pfizer bivalent vaccine as their third primary dose.

The vaccine authorization comes amid a rise in COVID-19 infections as well as one of the earliest surges of influenza.

The youngest children have only been eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine since June, making them the last group to become eligible for vaccination.

But the vast majority of children in this age group have not received any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, which is worrying administration health officials.  

The CDC said it is working to increase parent and provider confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and improve uptake among the 95 percent of children who are either not vaccinated or who have not completed the primary series.

“As we spend more time indoors during the holiday season and winter months, I encourage parents of eligible children to get one of these free updated COVID-19 vaccines to help keep their families safe,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

“COVID-19 vaccines remain our best defense against the most devastating health consequences of the virus, and we encourage all those eligible to stay up to date with their vaccinations, or get vaccinated if they have not yet done so,” Becerra said. 

Tags CDC COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccines fda Xavier Becerra

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