COVID recommends boosters for teenagers: What to know in regards to the omicron variant and extra

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For probably the most up-to-date information and details about the coronavirus pandemic, go to the WHO and CDC web sites.

In order to remain forward of the brand new omicron variant, well being officers within the US are urging everybody eligible to go get a COVID-19 booster — together with teenagers as younger as 16. On Thursday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Pfizer’s booster for 16- and 17-year-olds after it was licensed earlier within the day by the US Food and Drug Administration. Now, teenagers as younger as 16 can get boosted so long as six months have handed since their second Pfizer shot. 

Kids beneath age 16 cannot get a booster but, however kids ages 5 and up will be totally vaccinated. Pfizer’s vaccine for youths ages 5 to 11 is one-third of an everyday dose, a barely totally different system and given with a smaller needle. It was authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration and advisable by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after information exhibiting an encouraging safety profile and high effectiveness was reviewed by unbiased committees to the CDC and FDA. 

At a White House COVID-19 Response Team press briefing Tuesday, coordinator Jeff Zients mentioned that 5 million children ages 5 to 11 could have had their first shot. When requested in regards to the security and danger of myocarditis for youths receiving the vaccine, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky mentioned, “We haven’t had anything that’s come to us as a signal, and we continue to watch that carefully.” 

Children are included within the Biden administration’s plan to fight each the omicron and delta variants circulating this winter. For children, the plan consists of implementing extra “test to stay” policies that hold kids at school who’ve been uncovered to COVID-19, with out sending them dwelling for 14 days to quarantine, by frequent testing and different public well being measures. The CDC will launch extra data on such insurance policies within the coming weeks, based on the White House. Another a part of the Biden administration’s plan is launching “hundreds of family vaccination clinics” so children can get vaccinated alongside their dad and mom who’re moving into for a booster shot

While omicron is prone to decrease the current vaccines’ effectiveness at stopping an infection to diploma, and extra details about the brand new variant must be analyzed earlier than scientists can communicate definitively in regards to the new variant, delta remains the dominant variant within the US. For the week ending Dec. 2, children made up 22.4% of COVID-19 cases, based on the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Here’s what we find out about COVID-19 vaccines for youths. 

Where can my teenager get a booster shot?

Teens ages 16 and up can get a booster now, based on new CDC guidance. Because Pfizer’s vaccine is the one vaccine licensed for people beneath age 18, you will must discover a pharmacy or clinic that has Pfizer’s vaccine in inventory. A superb place to begin could be texting your ZIP code to 438829 to discover a Pfizer vaccine for individuals age 12 and up close to you.

Do younger children even want a COVID-19 vaccine? 

Children stay at low danger of extreme COVID-19 illness and demise in contrast with the grownup inhabitants. (Of states that reported information to the AAP, 0.1% to 1.9% of COVID-19 circumstances in kids resulted in hospitalization.) But kids can expertise complications from COVID-19, together with lengthy COVID and multisystem inflammatory syndrome

Kids ages 5 to 11 are additionally a minimum of as prone to be contaminated with COVID-19 as adults are, based on information presented at a meeting of FDA advisers — greater than 1.9 million kids in that age group have been contaminated for the reason that starting of the pandemic. According to CDC information from Dec. 1, 199 children ages 5 to 11 have died from COVID-19 within the US. 

There are additionally racial disparities in how sick kids get from COVID-19. Children ages 5 to 11 who’re Black, Native American or Hispanic are 3 times extra prone to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than white kids, based on the presentation. Of kids ages 5 to 11 hospitalized with COVID-19, about one in three would require an ICU admission.

The pandemic has had different results on kids, together with psychological and emotional tolls. In mid-October, the AAP, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Children’s Hospital Association declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health, with kids from communities of colour being disproportionately affected. Given the function that in-person studying performs in a toddler’s growth, the CDC prioritized in-person learning for college kids this fall, and it has guidance on prevention. 

Can kids age four or youthful get vaccinated?

Not but. Fauci has previously said that he expects vaccines to be obtainable to kids beneath 5 by early 2022. 

Everyone 5 and older can get vaccinated. It might have taken a couple of days in your native pharmacy or well being clinic to get Pfizer’s vaccine for youths ages 5 to 11 in inventory, nevertheless, as a result of it is totally different from Pfizer’s vaccine for everybody else (extra on that beneath). However, this system is up and operating now and you ought to be able to find the smaller dose of the vaccine at a clinic near you

Kids age 12 and up have been eligible for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for some time. The different mRNA vaccine, Moderna, and the one single-dose vaccine on the US market, Johnson & Johnson, aren’t available to kids yet.

Where can I get my baby vaccinated for COVID-19? 

The COVID-19 vaccine for youths beneath 12 will likely be free no matter immigration standing, identical to it’s for adults. It will likely be obtainable in pediatricians’ places of work, physician’s places of work, public well being clinics and locations accessible to kids. (Mass vaccination websites that supplied COVID-19 pictures to adults is not going to be used as a part of the child vaccine program.) A superb place to begin could be calling your pediatrician or native well being clinic for a suggestion on the place to go. 

Parents may additionally use this vaccine finder link to discover a clinic that has the kid vaccine obtainable. 

How is Pfizer’s vaccine for younger children totally different?

Pfizer’s vaccine is one-third the dose of the vaccine given to everybody age 12 and older (however it’s nonetheless given in two pictures, three weeks aside). The needle used to manage the vaccine can even be smaller. Additionally, the cap on the vial the vaccine is available in will likely be orange instead of purple and gray to keep away from mix-ups. 

The system of the vaccine additionally varies barely from the system for adults. Pfizer’s vaccine for youths will be saved up to 10 weeks in a fridge, making it simpler to manage. For extra details about Pfizer’s vaccine for youthful kids, check out this fact sheet by the FDA

Should I fear about myocarditis? 

At the White House briefing Tuesday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky mentioned that well being officers are persevering with to “comb those data” concerning myocarditis in youthful children, however that “we haven’t had anything that’s come to us as a signal.” 

Myocarditis and pericarditis, or irritation of the center muscle, is a rare side effect linked to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and is generally seen in adolescent males and males beneath 30. (Importantly, circumstances of myocarditis following vaccination have been largely delicate and gone away rapidly. Myocarditis can happen after an infection with a virus, together with COVID-19.) In one research, the CDC said that 54 children out of 1 million males ages 12 to 17 skilled myocarditis following a second dose of Pfizer. In basic, children beneath 12 have a decrease danger of myocarditis from different causes in contrast with adolescents, the CDC says, and the advantages of vaccinating for COVID-19 outweigh any recognized and potential dangers. 

By distinction, children ages 5 to 11 have the next danger of MIS-C, a probably severe complication of COVID-19.

“The bottom line is that getting COVID is much riskier to the heart than anything in this vaccine, no matter what age or sex you have,” Dr. Matthew Oster mentioned after a presentation on myocarditis previous to the CDC’s suggestion. 

Side results in children ages 5 to 11 had been largely delicate and much like the unintended effects adults might expertise after vaccination, according to the CDC


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Do I would like to offer consent to ensure that my younger baby to get vaccinated? 

Yes, dad and mom usually must consent to their kids receiving medical care, which can embody Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. This is particularly true for youthful kids. 

However, when you have a young person or baby sufficiently old to precise a need to get a COVID-19 vaccine and you have not given consent, they could have authorized precedent to hunt one out, depending on which state you live in

In Tennessee, the rights of minors versus their dad and mom in terms of vaccine selections got here beneath the highlight final summer season when the state’s vaccine director, Michelle Fiscus, was allegedly fired, partially, for sending out a memo explaining Tennessee’s “mature minor doctrine,” which is the state’s writing on how minors might search medical care with out the consent of their dad and mom in some circumstances. 

If my baby is immunocompromised or has a well being situation, can they get a 3rd shot? 

A 3rd dose of Pfizer’s vaccine is not licensed or advisable for immunocompromised kids ages 5 to 11. 

If your baby is a minimum of 12 years outdated, “moderately or severely” immunocompromised and vaccinated with Pfizer, based on the CDC, they need to get a 3rd dose of Pfizer, as that is the one vaccine that has been licensed to this point. Moderna is barely licensed for individuals age 18 and older. Examples of people who are immunocompromised embody individuals receiving therapy for cancers within the blood or tumors, organ transplant recipients, stem cell transplant recipients, individuals with untreated or superior HIV an infection and other people taking medicine that would suppress the immune response, per the CDC. 

Last week, nevertheless, the FDA authorized Eli Lilly’s monoclonal antibody therapy for youths, which suggests kids and even new child infants can obtain the therapy in the event that they’re sick or had been uncovered and are at excessive danger of extreme COVID-19. Children who’re at excessive danger for COVID-19 consists of children who’re overweight or have diabetes, bronchial asthma or other conditions

“Children under one year of age who are exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 may be at particularly high risk for severe COVID-19 and this authorization addresses the medical needs of this vulnerable population,” Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in the authorization release.

Does Pfizer’s full FDA approval prolong to children?

The FDA’s approval of the vaccine by Pfizer and its associate, BioNTech, solely applies to individuals as younger as 16 years outdated. While Pfizer stays the one vaccine licensed to be used in children as younger as 5 years outdated, vaccinating that age group continues to be beneath emergency use authorization moderately than complete approval. This is as a result of, together with different elements, full FDA approval requires information on how the vaccine fares six months out, per NPR. Pfizer’s vaccine was solely licensed for kids age 12 to 15 in May. 

This implies that a vaccine mandate that hinges on full approval of a coronavirus vaccine, such because the one announced for school kids in California, will not apply to children youthful than 16 for some time.

My baby has allergic reactions. Can they get the vaccine?

“If the child has a history of anaphylaxis or other severe allergies, then the observation time after the injection may be 30 minutes instead of 15,” Dr. Anne Liu, an infectious illness specialist with Stanford Hospital and Clinics and the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, mentioned in August. So you may be requested to stay across the ready room along with your baby for an additional 15 minutes so well being care suppliers can monitor vaccine recipients for the (extremely rare) allergic response that may happen after any vaccination. 

Additionally, Liu mentioned, kids who’re prescribed an EpiPen for any cause ought to convey it to their vaccine appointment. 

As for adults, kids with an allergy to an ingredient in Pfizer’s COVID-19 should not take it. Find a listing of substances in Pfizer’s vaccine for youths ages 5 to 11 on the FDA’s fact sheet

Can my baby get the COVID-19 shot similtaneously different vaccines?

Yes, according to the CDC, your baby might get different vaccines after they go in for his or her coronavirus shot with out ready 14 days between appointments. Flu shots will be given to kids age 6 months and older. 

Correction, Oct. 25: A earlier model of this story included a sentence implying incorrect details about obtainable vaccines for kids age 12 and older. Only Pfizer’s vaccine is at the moment obtainable for youths ages 12 to 17.

The data contained on this article is for academic and informational functions solely and isn’t meant as well being or medical recommendation. Always seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier concerning any questions you will have a few medical situation or well being targets.

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