Omicron booster shots are now approved by the CDC
Before the winter, bivalent Covid booster shots will be given to kids as young as five. Five to 11-year-olds should receive one dosage of Pfizer’s revised shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Moderna’s bivalent booster is available to children six years old and older. Compared to earlier shots, both of the new vaccines provide stronger defence against the novel Omicron strains. Officials are now ‘encouraging’ parents to vaccinate their kids before classes resume after the fall break. But many scientists have always opposed attempts to immunise the most vulnerable members of society, arguing that they already face a vanishingly tiny danger of dying.
According to official estimates, more than eight out of ten kids under the age of 17 already have antibodies against Covid, either as a result of a vaccination or a prior infection. It happens at a time when adult booster adoption is sluggish. Only 6% of eligible Americans aged 12 and older had applied for one of the bivalent boosters prior to today’s announcement. After receiving approval from the FDA and CDC, children as young as five can now receive the improved bivalent Covid booster vaccine. In the image above, a young girl in Miami, Florida, received the Covid shot at her elementary school the previous year.
The BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, which together account for nearly 93% of instances in the US, are the targets of the shots. Only the outdated “Wuhan” virus, which brought on the pandemic’s initial wave, was the focus of the initial vaccinations.
Before Halloween, get your booster, advises the White House.
Contrary to what President Joe Biden indicated last month, the White House’s top COVID official stated that the pandemic is still ongoing. The country’s COVID-19 response coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, issued the alert in reaction to the US’ slow uptake of booster shots.
At a Tuesday news briefing at the White House, he said, “Covid is not over; there is still a lot of work to be done.” There is still a lot of work to be done since 300 to 400 Americans still perish every day and tens of thousands contract the disease. Covid cases and deaths in America have been falling precipitously for several months, but many experts are worried that this winter may see a new uptick.
President Biden stated last month that the pandemic was “finished,” though his aides later withdrew those statements. Dr. Jha’s statements are in opposition to those of Biden. The FDA’s chief of vaccine approvals, Dr. Peter Marks, claimed that the restoration of classes was the reason for the suggestion. ‘There is the possibility for increased risk of exposure to the virus that causes Covid as children have returned to school in person and people are continuing pre-pandemic habits and activities,’ he said.
While it has generally been the case that children tend to experience Covid in a less severe manner than adults, as the numerous Covid waves have happened, more kids have become ill with the illness and have required hospitalisation.
Children may potentially suffer long-term consequences from initially minor diseases, according to research. “When appropriate, we urge parents to follow up with an updated booster dosage after considering main immunisation for youngsters.” Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, approved the expanded booster programme today and called it a “important step” for the nation.
However, many scientists have stated that there is minimal need to immunise youngsters because of the vanishingly low likelihood that the pandemic virus will cause them to become really ill or die. Since the virus first appeared, 1,300 kids up to the age of 17 have perished from Covid, which is the equivalent of 0.1% of the more than a million fatalities in America.
There is also proof that most people are already immune to the virus. According to a research released last week, 86% of children under the age of 17 had Covid-fighting antibodies, indicating that they were already somewhat protected.
Some medical professionals express concern about the increased risk of myocarditis or pericarditis within the age range from the vaccinations, especially in young adults. According to research, up to one in 7,000 teenagers experienced the reaction after receiving a Covid vaccine, however it is still extremely uncommon in women and adults.
However, when it does occur, the reaction is often moderate, and patients quickly recover without experiencing any long-term negative effects. Other nations avoid suggesting booster doses for younger age groups because to the hazards to youngsters.
Covid vaccinations for non-seniors have already been outlawed in Europe’s Denmark and Norway, and Sweden will stop promoting them for 12- to 18-year-olds next month.
Purchasing more than 171 million updated injections from Pfizer and Moderna cost US health officials millions of dollars. But after a month of distribution, only 11.5 million, or 5% of the 216 million eligible people, had received anything. Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the White House Covid, attributed last month’s delayed rollout to the fact that September’s mild weather discouraged immunizations.
He recommended everyone who was eligible to obtain the new booster shots by Halloween in order to be protected for Thanksgiving. He told the meeting, “I think people should receive shots before Halloween.”
‘Why? By Halloween, your immune system will have had a few weeks to produce the benefits of the vaccine, so you will be prepared by Thanksgiving. There is no window that closes if you miss the holiday; it is still possible to have the vaccination. The number of Covid cases in the US has reached a plateau at around 40,000 cases per day.
However, experts are worried that they may begin to trend upward before the end of this month as colder weather forces more people indoors. A Covid wave is already visible in Europe, which serves as a canary in the mine for how the wave may change in the US. National estimates indicate that the number of infections in Britain increased by 14% last week, totaling 1.1 million infected individuals.