The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children aged 5 to 11-year-old.
More than eight million of the 28 million children in that age group in the United States have received two vaccine shots, and will now be eligible for the extra dose at least five months after their second shot.
However, the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention still needs to sign off on the shots before they can be administered.
The US government has been pushing for eligible Americans to get boosters in the face of data that shows vaccine immunity decreases over time.
The FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said the Omicron variant has seen more children getting Covid.
“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.”
“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. Vaccination continues to be the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 and its severe consequences, and it is safe,” Dr Califf said.
With children between the ages of 12 and 17 receiving the Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa, it might not be too long before under 12s become also become eligible in this country.
Last year, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said no Covid-19 vaccine was approved for use in South Africa on children aged below 12 years.
Meanwhile, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has reported 5,096 new cases of Covid-19 that have been identified in South Africa in the past 24 hours.
This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3.899,841 and represents a 20.9% positivity rate.