The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as a booster for kids ages 5 to 11.

The FDA explained the decision came as a result of more hospitalizations and long-term effects found within children in recent data.

Children in this age group may now receive a booster shot as soon as five months after their first cycle of vaccinations.

“While it has largely been the case that COVID-19 tends to be less severe in children than adults, the omicron wave has seen more kids getting sick with the disease and being hospitalized, and children may also experience longer term effects, even following initially mild disease,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. said. “The FDA is authorizing the use of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age to provide continued protection against COVID-19.”

In Pfizer/BioNTech’s trials for the booster, 4,500 children ages 5 to 11 were observed and found the side effects were consistent with past doses of the vaccine, with the most common being pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headaches, muscle or joint pain, chills and fevers.

The CDC approved the use of a first booster for children ages 12-15 back in January, with the booster being authorized for ages 16 and up in November of 2021.


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