As of April 19, 2021, all American states have allowed COVID-19 vaccines to individuals aged 16 and over. Now, infants and children ages 6 months to 5 years are allowed to receive their third Pfizer or Moderna vaccine shot if they have previously received the two doses.
With respiratory infections rising throughout America, officials have approved third COVID-19 omicron vaccines for certain children. The decision to approve the third dose arrived after respiratory infection and hospitalization had surged across the nation. With the upcoming colder months, it is important to stay up to date with vaccinations to ensure safety among children.
Children to receive their third omicron vaccines
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved omicron vaccine boosters for children, allowing health professionals to start dispensing shots.
Children ages 6 months to 5 years can now receive their third Moderna shot if they have received the first two doses. They are eligible to get their third vaccine after two months from the second shot.
Children ages 6 months to 4 years who received a series of Pfizer vaccines will also be eligible to receive the omicron booster as their third dose. At this moment, however, children who already received Pfizer's three-dose vaccination cannot receive the omicron shot. The FDA did not approve of this, as more data is waiting to be provided for the booster dose. The extra information is anticipated to arrive around January 2023. The new omicron vaccine targets the BA.5 subvariant and also the existing strain.
“More children now have the opportunity to update their protection against COVID-19 with a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, and we encourage parents and caregivers of those eligible to consider doing so – especially as we head into the holidays and winter months
where more time will be spent indoors,” said the head of the FDA Dr. Robert Califf in an official statement.
“As this virus has changed, and immunity from previous COVID-19 vaccination wanes, the more people who keep up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, the more benefit there will be for individuals, families, and public health by helping prevent severe illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths.”
The FDA approved the omicron shots for children after studying adult immune feedback data for vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna, which attack the original omicron BA.1 variant.
What is a COVID-19 vaccine?
The concept of vaccination has been around for centuries, and the COVID-19 vaccine guides our bodies to develop protection against the virus that spawns COVID-19. As of now, there are three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in America, including mRNA, viral vector, and protein subunit. The vaccines do not contain any live virus units, meaning they cannot give you the actual virus.
Vaccines take a couple of weeks to work, so someone can catch an infection right after getting vaccinated. It is also possible for individuals to develop certain symptoms for a little while after getting vaccinated, such as a fever, as our bodies are working to produce immunity. It is completely normal for these symptoms to arrive, and they usually disappear within a few days.
In easy words, vaccines work to stimulate our immune response by inputting weakened germs into our bodies. mRNA vaccines are an exception, where generated mRNA allows our cells to make some protein, which prompts our body's immune response. This response produces antibodies, which then shield us from the virus.
“Vaccines remain the best defense against the most devastating consequences of disease caused by the currently circulating omicron variant, such as hospitalization and death. Based on available data, the updated, bivalent vaccines are expected to provide increased protection against COVID-19,” shared FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research director Peter Marks.
“Parents and caregivers can be assured that the FDA has taken a great deal of care in our review, and we encourage parents of children of any age who are eligible for primary vaccination or a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster dose to consider seeking vaccination now as it can potentially help protect them from COVID-19 during a time when cases are increasing.”