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Pfizer asks FDA to approve omicron COVID-19 booster shots for 5- to 11-year-olds

FILE - A young girl gets a COVID-19 vaccination in San Jose, Calif., on June 21, 2022. (Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images) Pfizer asked U.S.

regulators Monday to expand the use of its updated COVID-19 booster shot to children ages 5 to 11.Elementary school-aged children already received kid-sized doses of Pfizer’s original vaccine, a third of the dose given to everyone 12 and older -- two primary shots plus a booster.If the Food and Drug Administration agrees, they would start getting a kid-sized dose of the new omicron-targeted formula when it is time for their booster.FDA vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks said last week he expected a decision on boosters for that age group soon.Pfizer and its partner BioNTech also announced a new study of the omicron-focused booster in even younger children, those ages 6 months through 4 years, to test different doses.Updated boosters made by both Pfizer and rival Moderna rolled out earlier this month for everyone 12 and older.

They’re a tweak to vaccines that already have saved millions of lives -- a combination or "bivalent" shot that contains half the original recipe and half protection against the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron relatives responsible for most of today’s COVID-19 cases.U.S. regulators have authorized updated COVID-19 boosters, the first to directly target today's most common omicron strain.The hope is that the modified boosters will help tamp down continuing COVID-19 cases and blunt another winter surge.

covid-19 vaccine

Peter Marks

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