The U.S. will soon make available a COVID-19 booster shot to children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old.
Here’s what happened this week: The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized a third dose of BioNTech SE
and Pfizer Inc.’s
COVID-19 booster. Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Thursday voted 11-1, with one abstention, in favor of giving kids in this age group a booster five months after their second dose. CDC director Rochelle Walensky rubber-stamped the decision, noting in a statement that “vaccination with a primary series among this age group has lagged behind other age groups leaving them vulnerable to serious illness.”
The data on kids and COVID-19 shots: More than 4.8 million children between the ages of 5 and 11 have officially tested positive for COVID-19, 15,000 have been hospitalized and about 180 have died, according to CDC data. Approximately 29% of kids this age in the U.S. are fully vaccinated.
One thing to note: Some experts have raised questions about giving a third shot to young boys because of myocarditis risks. However, the CDC said during Thursday’s ACIP meeting that there were fewer instances of heart inflammation in boys between the ages of 5 and 11 than in adolescents and young men after getting a second COVID-19 shot, according to Reuters.
Other COVID-19 news to know:
People who report long COVID after infection may find their symptoms lessen after vaccination, according to a study published Wednesday in the BMJ. The observational study assessed about 28,000 adults in the U.K. who had received at least one dose of a vaccine after testing positive for COVID-19.
North Korea has reported that 2.4 million are sick with a “fever,” though officials there are not referring to the widespread infection as a COVID-19 outbreak, according to ABC News. The nation acknowledged its first COVID-19 case last week.
What the numbers say
The daily average for new COVID-19 cases topped the 100,000 mark for the third straight day and hospitalizations keep rising, but deaths fell to a 10-month low.
The seven-day average of new cases was 103,537 on Thursday, up 52% from two weeks ago and the highest level since Feb. 19, according to a New York Times Tracker. The daily average of hospitalizations has been rising steadily for the past month, hitting 23,460 on Thursday. The daily average for deaths fell to 303, down 17% in two weeks and the lowest count since July 27.