Pfizer wants to expand COVID-19 booster shots to healthy children ages 5-11
In a small study, 140 young people who had already received two injections received a booster six months later, and researchers found that the additional injection generally increased their immune response. But closer examination of 30 of the children found a 36-fold increase in anti-virus antibodies, levels high enough to fight off the super-contagious omicron variant, Pfizer and partner BioNTech said in a press release.
The data has not been published or verified by independent experts.
Pfizer tested the kid booster as omicron was booming this winter. While COVID-19 cases are now at much lower levels in the United States, in recent weeks an even more contagious version of omicron, called BA.2, has become the dominant type locally and globally.
In the coming days, the companies plan to ask the US Food and Drug Administration to authorize a booster for healthy 5- to 11-year-olds. They also plan to share the data with European and other regulators.
Pfizer injections are the only vaccine available for American children. People 5 to 11 years old get one-third the dose given to everyone 12 years and older. Just over a quarter of young people have received two doses since the vaccination was opened to them in November, shortly before the arrival of omicron.
The United States has not yet authorized the vaccination of children under 5 years of age. But some children aged 5 to 11 – those with severely weakened immune systems – are already supposed to receive three doses, to give this high-risk group a better chance of responding.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.