COVID-19 boosters now recommended for everyone ages five and older
Everyone ages five years and older is now eligible for a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Children who received their second dose at least five months ago can get a booster shot. Only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for children ages 5 through 17.
The arrival of booster shots for children is “welcome news,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Washington secretary of health. COVID-19 cases are rising in the state and children continue to fall ill from COVID-19. “Keeping yourselves and those around you safe is of utmost importance,” he added. “This recommendation is another step in that direction.”
Safety and effectiveness
Since the pandemic began, more than 4.8 million children ages five through 11 have been diagnosed with COVID-19, over 15,000 have been hospitalized, and tragically, 180 have died. The myth that COVID-19 is always a mild disease in children needs to be dispelled, the Washington State Department of Health declared in a statement.
Public health experts warn that unvaccinated children are at risk of developing “long COVID” with persistent symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, and multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a serious condition with life threatening consequences.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children has gone through comprehensive and rigorous evaluation of its safety and effectiveness, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Approximately 3,100 children ages 5 through 11 received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trials. No serious side effects have been detected, and the vaccine was nearly 91 percent effective at preventing COVID-19.
Like other vaccines, the most common side effects for children are a sore arm, tiredness, headaches, and muscle pain. These symptoms are usually mild and go away within one to two days.
The expansion of booster eligibility came after Pfizer-BioNTech demonstrated booster doses boost antibody levels and provide added protection against COVID-19.
Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH | Director of the Centers for Disease Control
With over 18 million doses administered in this age group, we know that these vaccines are safe, and we must continue to increase the number of children who are protected. I encourage parents to keep their children up to date with CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.
Updated booster dose recommendations for all ages
The Washington State Department of Health has released this updated vaccine booster dose chart.
- Children ages 5 through 11 should receive a booster dose five months after completing their primary vaccine series of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
- Immunocompromised children should receive their booster at least three months after their primary series.
- Everyone 12 and older should receive a booster dose five months after completing their primary vaccine series of Pfizer or Moderna, or two months after receiving the single-shot Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine.
- Everyone 50 and older should receive a second booster dose four months after receiving their first booster dose.
- Individuals 12 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive a second booster dose four months after receiving their first booster dose.
- Those 18 and older who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of the J&J vaccine four months ago can receive a second booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna).
Get your vaccine at ICHS
ICHS patients should call (206) 788-3700 to make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Scheduled appointments are only available for ICHS patients. For more information, please click here.