The Food and Drug Administration has granted an emergency use authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 booster shot for children ages 5 to 11. They will be eligible for the booster shot five months after completing the original two-dose series.
The booster shot is a 10 microgram dose, which is the same amount as the initial shots.
The FDA did not convene its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee before authorizing the booster shot. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet on Thursday (May 19). After their meeting, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is expected to sign off on the booster shot, and they should begin rolling out on Friday.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf stressed the importance for everybody, including kids, to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
"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, and children may also experience longer-term effects, even following initially mild disease," Califf said in a statement.
The CDC said that just 28% of children between the ages of 5 and 11 are fully vaccinated, while an additional 6% have received their first shot.