The State Department of Health today announced its recommendation that children ages 5 to 11 should receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster five months after completing their initial two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series.
Children ages 5 – 11 years who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should receive their booster, or fourth vaccine dose, three months after completing their primary Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series, which includes an additional (third) dose, the state health department said.
The state health department’s announcement follows the federal Food and Drug Administration’s authorization last week and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation and updated guidance.
Booster doses for children are free and widely available statewide, including at over 2,000 locations administering the vaccine for children and the state’s mass vaccination sites, the state DOH said.
“Vaccinations and boosters are the most effective way to protect against serious complications from COVID-19,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “The availability of boosters for 5-to-11-year-olds gives us yet another tool to safeguard the health of our children and our communities. Our data suggest that boosters for children in this age group are especially important to protect against severe illness. I urge parents and guardians to get children ages 5 and over vaccinated and boosted to ensure safe and long lasting protection.”
NYSDOH shares CDC’s recommendation that all eligible children, adolescents, and adults get fully vaccinated and receive an initial COVID-19 booster or additional dose when eligible. According to the CDC, since the pandemic began, more than 4.8 million children ages 5 through 11 have been diagnosed with COVID-19, 15,000 have been hospitalized and, tragically, over 180 have died. As cases increase across the country, a booster dose will safely help restore and enhance protection against severe disease.
In accordance with CDC’s updated guidance, NYSDOH has strengthened its recommendation that those 50 years and older, or those 12 years and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, should receive a second booster dose at least four months after their first booster. Over the past month, there has been a steady increases in cases, with a steep and substantial increase in hospitalizations for older Americans. While older Americans have the highest coverage of any age group of first booster doses, most older Americans received their last dose (either their primary series or their first booster dose) many months ago, leaving many who are vulnerable without the protection they may need to prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death.
The State’s booster and additional dose website includes information for New Yorkers about first and second boosters, additional doses, eligibility, frequently asked questions, and resources for providers on-the-ground – including children-specific information. Parents and guardians are also encouraged to visit ny.gov/VaxForKids for more information and resources about the COVID-19 vaccine and children. The State will continue its outreach to inform parents and guardians of the expansion of booster eligibility for children through traditional and digital marketing efforts, including push notifications through the State’s Excelsior Pass platform.
All state mass vaccination sites are administering booster and additional doses for children five years and older. Parents and guardians can also visit vaccines.gov, text their ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find nearby locations. New Yorkers can also contact their child’s pediatrician, family physician, county health departments, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), rural health centers, or pharmacies that may be administering the vaccine to this age group. Make sure that the provider offers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to make sure their child is up to date on all recommended and required vaccinations, including the flu vaccine. Please visit the Department of Health website for more information on recommended childhood and adolescent immunizations.
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