FDA Expands Eligibility for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine booster dose to Children 5 – 11 Years of age

image of coronavirus with "coronas" or crowns extending outward from a sphereImage of coronavirus from CDC/Alissa Eckert, MSMI; Dan Higgins, MAMS

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that it has authorized the use of a single booster dose for individuals 5 through 11 years of age at least five months after they’ve received the primary series of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

“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,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. for the press release announcing the change. “The FDA is authorizing the use of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age to provide continued protection against COVID-19. Vaccination continues to be the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 and its severe consequences, and it is safe. If your child is eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and has not yet received their primary series, getting them vaccinated can help protect them from the potentially severe consequences that can occur, such as hospitalization and death.”  

On Jan. 3, the FDA authorized the use of a single booster dose of the vaccine for administration to individuals 12 through 15 years of age after completion of primary vaccination series.

“The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is effective in helping to prevent the most severe consequences of COVID-19 in individuals 5 years of age and older,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Since authorizing the vaccine for children down to 5 years of age in October 2021, emerging data suggest that vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 wanes after the second dose of the vaccine in all authorized populations. The FDA has determined that the known and potential benefits of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age at least five months after completing a primary series outweigh its known and potential risks and that a booster dose can help provide continued protection against COVID-19 in this and older age groups.”

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