COVID-19 booster shots receive approval from CDC; children’s vaccine under review | Williams-Grand Canyon News

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — On Oct. 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in approval of a single booster dose of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in certain populations who have already completed a full vaccine series of either vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine received CDC booster authorization last month.

Under the new CDC guidance, individuals choose which type of vaccine booster they receive, allowing for mixing and matching of vaccines, subject to that vaccine’s timing and eligibility recommendations for booster doses.

Pfizer and Moderna

For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are now eligible for a booster shot at six months or more after their initial series:

65 years and older;

Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings;

Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions and

Age 18+ who live or work in situations putting them at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Johnson & Johnson:

Booster doses are also recommended for individuals 18 years and older who receive the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine two or more months following their initial vaccination.

The booster dose offers additional protection for those at increased risk of severe COVID-19 disease.

Individuals who are moderate to severely immune compromised, continue to be eligible for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna.

Those seeking a booster dose are asked to bring their COVID-19 vaccination card with them. COVID-19 vaccines are provided at no cost.

Additionally, pediatricians across the state are beginning to offer advance COVID-19 vaccine appointments for ages 5 to 11.

However, according to Coconino County Health and Human Services, this does not mean that the Pfizer vaccine is available to children of these ages.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are expected to approve the vaccine, later this week.

“There are several additional steps that need to occur including recommendations from the CDC itself,” the county stated. “These steps are expected soon and updates will be shared as they are available.”

Arizona’s pediatric doses

The state of Arizona is expected to receive 224,700 pediatric doses with “many more doses to begin arriving soon after the CDC issues its recommendation,” according to a statement from Don Herrington, interim director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“The goal is simple: Kids already benefit from all kinds of safe and effective vaccines, and adding COVID-19 vaccination to the mix helps keep children, their families, their friends and their communities safe,” Herrington said.

Trials conducted by Pfizer and BioNTech found that their COVID-19 vaccine was 90.7 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections among children 5 to 11 years old, according to the manufacturer.

Pfizer and BioNTech tested the vaccine on 2,268 children in this age group, giving them a 10-microgram dose – a third of the dose administered to ages 12 or older.

An FDA panel recommended that regulators authorize the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 earlier this week. The CDC’s independent advisory committee is scheduled to meet Nov. 2 and 3.

Debbie McCune Davis, the executive director for the Arizona Partnership for Immunization, said as more people have gotten vaccinated against COVID-19, the number of infections has gone down. But that’s left many school-aged children, who are too young for vaccines, vulnerable to the quick-spreading delta variant of the virus.

“What happens is the virus locates people who are not protected, and they become vulnerable, so with our kids, without having a vaccine for them, we’ve left them vulnerable to the circulating virus,” she said. “It’s really important that families learn about the benefits of this vaccine and make a decision by talking to their pediatrician about what they want to do to protect their own families.”

The partnership is a nonprofit organization that focuses on statewide education about vaccines through community activities and engagement. The organization’s website provides resources with science-based vaccine information, including information and updates regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

McCune Davis said kids especially are “virus spreaders” because of how close in contact they are with other kids and aren’t as careful when it comes to preventing the spread.

Verde Independent editor Brian Bergner contributed to this article.

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