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Children ages 5-11 can now get a COVID-19 booster, says NC health department

A booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is prepared during a vaccination clinic on Dec. 29 in Lawrence, Mass. The FDA is now shortening the wait time between the second dose and the booster to five months from six months.
Charles Krupa
/
AP
A booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is prepared during a vaccination clinic on Dec. 29 in Lawrence, Mass.

Children ages 5 to 11 years old can now receive a COVID-19 booster five months after the date of their most recent Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine dose.

This decision comes as COVID-19 cases are on the rise again across North Carolina, according to a statement from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The Pfizer booster is the only brand currently available to children in this age range.

“Summer brings vacations, play dates and family gatherings, and it’s important for everyone to stay up to date on their vaccines,” said N.C. DHSS Secretary Kody Kinsley. “Children ages 5 to 11 can now have the extra protection of a booster dose, which significantly increases protection against serious illness, hospitalization, death and long-term complications from COVID-19.”

The Food and Drug Administration’s authorization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation for the booster came earlier this week.

“Children are vulnerable to the virus and long-term complications just like everyone else,” said NCDHHS State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson. “Cases that start with mild symptoms can progress quickly, and even mild cases can have symptoms that last for several weeks or months.”

Long-term COVID-19 symptoms can include multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, which can cause inflammation in different parts of the body, as well as, coughing, body aches, shortness of breath, headaches, brain fog, difficulty sleeping, and more. It may also cause lasting damage to the heart, kidneys, or other organs.

Those who were boosted during the recent omicron surge were seven times less likely to be hospitalized and 21 times less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those who were unvaccinated.

“Prevention is the best treatment to protect against COVID-19,” said Kinsley. “Make sure you and your entire family are up to date on your vaccines, including boosters when eligible.”

Booster shots are available anywhere COVID-19 vaccines are available and are free regardless of insurance or immigration status. Call ahead to make sure the location you choose has the age-appropriate Pfizer vaccine available.

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