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CDC Advisory Board to vote on Pfizer's COVID-19 booster for kids ages 5-11 on Thursday

Virus Outbreak Washington
Posted at 6:44 AM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 07:46:35-04

TAMPA, Fla.  — The FDA issued emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster shot for kids 5-11 earlier this week. Now the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet on Thursday to discuss the boosters.

The recommendation is that kids 5-11 receive a booster at least five months after the primary shots.

“With the omicron variant that protection from the boosters and from the original vaccinations is not really very long-lasting in children or anyone else for that matter,” said Dr. Thomas Unnasch, Distinguished Professor for USF Health.

Studies out of New York showed the effectiveness of Pfizer’s initial two doses for kids dropped substantially during the omicron surge.

“You’re getting about a 70% protection from infection but that declines very rapidly to only about a 20% protection in children after about four weeks or so. So it’s a pretty rapid decline,” said Unnasch.

While kids who do get COVID-19 typically don’t get severely ill, the omicron wave caused more sick kids and hospitalizations than doctors have seen before during this pandemic.

That’s why some of them are pushing for an extra boost.

“We’re still seeing against the omicron variant in the children, as well as in the adults, a really good protection against severe disease and hospitalization,” said Unnasch.

Data showed the third vaccine dose raises omicron fighting antibodies by 36 times in this age group.

Pfizer said no safety issues were observed in their clinical trials.

“Now the other question is, the secondary question of course, is it efficacious. I think with something as safe as this is, the hurdle for efficacy is going to be fairly low, the bar is going to be pretty low so I think chances are they’re going to go ahead and give the approval,” said Unnasch.

The meeting starts at 11 a.m., vaccine advisers will review safety and efficacy data. The vote is scheduled for 3:15 p.m.