When should my children get their COVID-19 refresher?
Vaccines are our best hope for ending the COVID-19 pandemic. A vaccine is now available for children as young as 5 and booster shots have been approved for some older children. Clinical trials are currently underway for a vaccine for children aged 6 months to 4 years.
Research shows that the COVID-19 vaccines are remarkably effective and safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging children and adults to get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster as soon as they are eligible. Vaccinations and boosters are especially important now as the number of cases caused by the Delta and Omicron variants of the virus increases. More contagious strains can spread quickly and infect more children. Everyone who is eligible should get the vaccine that is available to them. COVID-19 vaccines are free whether you have health insurance or not. Currently, the only available pediatric COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is Pfizer BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine. Two separate doses are given 21 days apart. The COVID vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 is a lower dose than the recommended dose for people aged 12 and over.
Who can get the third vaccination:
Persons aged 16 and over: The federal health authorities approved a booster shot for adolescents aged 16 and over. Any 16-17 year old who has received two doses of the mRNA-COVID vaccine is strongly advised to receive a booster dose of the mRNA-COVID vaccine recommended for their age. The booster vaccination should be administered at least six months after completion of the primary vaccination course.
Adolescents aged 12 and over with certain health problems: For children from the age of 12 with a weakened immune system, a third dose is recommended as part of the basic immunization. The third dose aims to help them develop as much protection as possible against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The third dose in the primary series is recommended for those who meet any of the following criteria:
- are undergoing active cancer treatment for tumors or blood cancer
- You have received an organ transplant and are taking medication to suppress your immune system
- have had a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medication to suppress the immune system
- Have hereditary or genetic disorders that cause moderate or severe immunodeficiency
- Have advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Taking high doses of corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress the immune system response
You should also make sure your children have caught up on their vaccinations for measles, influenza, whooping cough, and any others your pediatrician recommends.
If your children have active COVID-19 infection, they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated. You should also follow the recommended isolation time first. This also applies to children who become infected with COVID-19 between the first and second vaccination dose.
— Tribune News Service