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FDA authorizes Pfizer's COVID booster shot for young children

It is unclear how much demand is there for the third dose in the 5-11 age group. Just 28.8% of children aged 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated, according to the latest CDC data.

Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shows 90.7% efficacy in trial in children
Pfizer/BioNTech's new pediatric COVID-19 vaccine vials are seen in this undated handout photo.
File photo / Pfizer / via Reuters
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of a booster shot of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, the regulator said on Tuesday, May 17.

The authorization makes everyone in the United States ages five and up eligible for booster doses of the vaccine, although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still needs to sign off on the shots.

Children below the age of five are not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.

"While it has largely been the case that COVID-19 tends to be less severe in children than adults, the Omicron wave has seen more kids getting sick with the disease and being hospitalized," FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a statement.

The U.S. government has been urging Americans to get boosters, and for the unvaccinated who are at much higher risk of severe COVID-19 and death to be inoculated.

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But it is unclear how much demand is there for the third dose in the 5-11 age group. Just 28.8% of children aged 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated, according to the latest CDC data.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Arun Koyyur)

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