The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) anticipates COVID-19 vaccine booster shots that are said to target Omicron subvariants of the virus will be available for children aged 5 to 11 years within a month.
“It is expected that if bivalent boosters are authorized for individuals aged 5 years and older as a booster, monovalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may no longer be authorized as booster doses,” the agency said.
COVID-19 vaccines have come under intense scrutiny following a string of studies pointing to adverse effects such as myocarditis, pericarditis, severe allergic reactions, and in some cases, deaths.
Lack of Data to Support BoostersPfizer-BioNTech is developing a bivalent vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years, while Moderna’s bivalent vaccine would be eligible for those aged 6 to 17 years, pending FDA authorization. The shots, which contain the mRNA components of both the spike genes of SARS-CoV-2 virus ancestral strain and the BA.4/5 subvariants, will be available to those who have already received their primary vaccine series.
Both BA.4 and BA.5 currently appear to be the most vaccine-evasive strains of the virus and also largely bypass immunity from a previous infection.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has ordered over 170 million doses of the updated bivalent COVID-19 vaccine ahead of this fall and winter as part of its plan to manage the virus across the nation.
The plan includes “free and easy access to new, updated COVID-19 vaccines” for Americans, and “empowering people with facts and answers to their questions” regarding the shots and the virus.