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Updated COVID-19 boosters now available for children


Wed, Oct 19th 2022 08:40 pm

Children between the ages of 5-11 eligible to receive boosters two months after completing initial series, or following last booster or additional dose

√ State Department of Health sends new guidance to providers for children to receive shots targeting the original virus strain; omicron variants

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced children ages 5 and older may now receive the bivalent booster shots that are recommended to increase protection against the coronavirus.

The state Department of Health updated its guidance this week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended its emergency use authorization, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its clinical guidance, which, Hochul’s team said, “collectively will allow more children to safely boost their immunity against COVID-19.”

The governor said, "Being able to provide the bivalent boosters to an even greater number of children throughout the state will expand protection against the omicron variants, as we collectively work to stay up to date with these safe, effective vaccinations. I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to get these boosters to protect themselves, their families, their children, and our communities from this virus as we head into the cold weather months."

In accordance with FDA's authorization and CDC's recommendations for use, the state Department of Health said New Yorkers 5 years and older should receive the bivalent booster dose at least two months after completing their initial vaccine series, or following their last booster or additional vaccine dose. Eligible children 5 years and older can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster, and those 6 years and older can receive Moderna's bivalent booster.

Hochul’s team said, “Viruses commonly mutate over time, so scientists update a vaccine's composition to be as effective as possible in protecting against the strain circulating.”

New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said, "The new bivalent booster is the first available made to target the currently circulating omicron subvariants, offering the most important protection for children and adults yet. Getting all your shots is the best way to prevent serious illness and hospitalization. Parents and guardians, please get yourselves and your children boosted as soon as eligible."

Hochul’s team said, “As noted by CDC, the new boosters add omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to the vaccine, helping to restore protection that has waned previously, and targeting recent variants that are more transmissible and immune-evading. The shots are expected to meaningfully reduce New Yorkers' chances of getting severe illness from COVID-19, including being hospitalized or even death.

“More than 1 million COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the United States. Nearly 75,000 New Yorkers have died from the infection since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.”

In addition to recommending bivalent boosters for all who are eligible, the Department of Heath continues to urge parents and guardians to have any of their children who are 6 months old and up complete their primary vaccine series as soon as possible. Receiving the initial doses are necessary to be eligible for a booster two months later.

More than 1.1 million bivalent boosters have already been administered to individuals 12 years and older in New York state. Providers that preordered and received bivalent doses are authorized to begin administering shots to New Yorkers 5 years and older.

Booster doses are free and available statewide. Supply is increasing each week, as orders by providers continue to be filled by vaccine manufacturers. To schedule a shot, New Yorkers can contact a health care provider, local pharmacy, or county health department.

New Yorkers can also visit vaccines.gov, text their ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find nearby locations. At vaccines.gov, after entering a 5-digit ZIP Code, New Yorkers can click "Updated Vaccines," and select the bivalent booster type by age they are seeking to book an appointment for themselves or their children.

New Yorkers can watch the State Department of Health's flu and COVID-19 public education campaign in English here and Spanish here

Learn more about COVID-19 boosters.

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