Updated COVID-19 boosters for those over age 12 have been available for several weeks, but Pfizer and BioNTech hope to provide its vaccine for more children.
The companies announced Monday they have submitted an application to provide the updated COVID-19 shot for children ages 5-11. The updated shot gives protection both against the original and omicron strains of COVID-19. Omicron has been the dominant variant of the virus in 2022.
Children ages 11 and under are eligible for the original vaccine. The bivalent vaccine is only for those who have completed at least two doses of the original COVID-19 vaccine.
Most children ages 5-11 have not gotten the original COVID-19 vaccine, which would make them illegible for the updated shot. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, 31.4% of children ages 5-11 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This age group was approved for vaccination in late November 2021.
The updated vaccines were in response to a virus that has mutated over the last two years. Although the original shot was quite effective, the vaccine has struggled to stop the spread of mild and moderate cases of the virus.
The new version of the COVID-19 vaccine is already available at many pharmacies, including CVS and Walgreens.
The White House previously announced it purchased 66 million doses of Moderna’s updated vaccine and 105 million doses of Pfizer’s updated vaccine.