Kids ages 5-11 can now receive COVID boosters in LA County

CREDIT: BAONA / ISTOCK

IN another step to promote protection against the coronavirus ahead of summer, Los Angeles County has begun administering booster shots to children ages 5 to 11.

This move comes after federal health officials on May 20 approved the additional dose for the young age group who have received the first two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only vaccine authorized or approved for children ages 5 through 17 years. Children and teens need two doses of a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Everyone ages 12 years and older should also get a booster shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

The approval also comes as children head into summer vacation.

“While vaccines offer significant protection from severe illness, we also know that like with other vaccines and medications over time, our bodies need a boost to remain highly protected,” said LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer at a press conference.

She added, “We also know that in L.A. County over the past month, cases among children 5 to 11 increased 264%. This is a faster rate of increase than what we saw in young adults ages 18 to 49, where the increase was 116%.”

In additional vaccine booster news, the CDC strengthened its recommendation that those 12 and older who are immunocompromised and those 50 and older should receive a second booster dose at least four months after their first booster dose.

“COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to prevent hospitalization and serious illness, and data has shown that California’s vaccination efforts have saved tens of thousands of lives. The Omicron surge and its infectious subvariants have shown that children are also vulnerable, with their case rates and hospitalizations increasing across California – we support the recommendations of our federal and state partners to authorize and recommend the use of a booster dose for children ages 5 and up. It’s important to get kids vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible,” said state Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly and Director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón in a joint statement.

“Additionally, over the past two months we have seen steady increases in cases, and more recently an increase in hospitalizations in California. While older Americans have the highest coverage of any age group of first booster doses, most older Americans received their last dose (either their primary series or their first booster dose) many months ago, leaving many who are vulnerable without the protection they may need to prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Whether it is your first booster, or your second, if you haven’t had a vaccine dose since the beginning of December 2021 and you are eligible, now is the time to get one.”

Parents can find a vaccine for their child in California at myturn.ca.gov or by calling 1-833-422-4255.

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