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New Bivalent COVID Booster Approved for Use in Children

October 14, 2022

COVID-19 bivalent booster is now approved by the CDC and FDA for children as young as 5.

The updated (bivalent) boosters are called “bivalent” because they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5.

Previous boosters are called “monovalent” because they were designed to protect against the original virus that causes COVID-19. They also provide some protection against Omicron, but not as much as the updated (bivalent) boosters.

The virus that causes COVID-19 has changed over time. The different versions of the virus that have developed over time are called variants. Learn more about variants of the COVID-19 virus.

Cropped: Bivalent COVID booster for kids ages 5-11

Two COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, Pfizer and Moderna, have developed updated (bivalent) COVID-19 boosters:

  • Moderna’s bivalent vaccine is authorized for children age 6 and above
  • Pfizer-BioNTech’s bivalent vaccine is approved for children age 5 and above

In both cases, the booster shot should be given at least two months after children have either finished the primary series of two shots or have gotten a booster shot.

The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone ages 6 months and older, and boosters for everyone ages 5 years and older if eligible.

“Vaccination remains the most effective measure to prevent the severe consequences of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

“While it has largely been the case that COVID-19 tends to be less severe in children than adults, as the various waves of COVID-19 have occurred, more children have gotten sick with the disease and have been hospitalized,” Marks added.

Children may also experience long-term effects, even following initially mild disease. We encourage parents to consider primary vaccination for children and follow up with an updated booster dose when eligible,” he said.

For more information: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about COVID vaccines for children. Learn how to: Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines Including Boosters.

Where can I get a vaccine or booster?

Schedule an appointment near you on Massachusetts Vaxfinder.

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