Millions of kids may soon be eligible for their COVID-19 booster shot, after the Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer's third dose for kids ages 11 to 15.
This comes as the Omicron variant is impacting kids more than previous strains.
According to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics, COVID-19 cases among kids have been increasing, with 20% of all weekly reported cases coming from children.
But, among the 24 states reporting, just 0.1%-1.8% of all pediatric COVID-19 cases have resulted in hospitalization.
This decision by the FDA also includes kids ages 5 to 11 who are immunocompromised.
An extra dose will help kids like 12-year-old Abhishal Kochal feel safe around his classmates.
"It probably gives me more immunity from the virus," he says.
His mother, Sonal Diwakar, agrees.
"He has asthma and autoimmune disease called Alopecia and having a booster can prevent him getting another disease," she said. "I think we can protect lives, if you take the vaccine, not just our life but other people's life."
The CDC currently recommends that moderately or severely immunocompromised 5–11-year-olds receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second shot.
President Biden plans to meet with his COVID response team later today.
He plans to speak on rising cases, COVID, the importance of being vaccinated, and how the administration plans to help communities in need.
Building off his Winter Plan, @POTUS will announce new steps the Administration is taking to help communities in need of assistance, while also issuing a stark warning of what the winter will look like for Americans that choose to remain unvaccinated.— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) December 18, 2021
Health officials are expecting COVID cases to continue increasing in the coming weeks.
Also, for adults, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened the recommended waiting period for people who completed their primary Covid-19 vaccination series with Pfizer’s shots.
People who received the Pfizer vaccine can now get a booster shot five months after their second dose, a month sooner than the federal government’s previous guidance.
Virginia Tech student, Natalie Brink, went to get a booster on Tuesday and is concerned with the changing guidance.
"I feel like it kind of concerns the public because a lot of people think that they already don’t know what’s going on, so when they change the requirement for it, it concerns the people more because they don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong," Brink commented.
The CDC’s vaccine advisory committee has scheduled a meeting Wednesday to review the FDA’s recommendation to distribute boosters to all adolescents aged 12 to 15.
Jerry Tucker, the Public Health Emergency Manager for the Chesapeake Health Department, says they are awaiting further guidance.
“So if everything gets approved, possibly we could be looking at next week with adopting these new guidelines,” stated Tucker.
Tucker recommends checking the Health Department website for the latest on clinics and at-home test availability. Click here for more information.