1.12.23 – FDA and CDC Approve Updated COVID Booster for Young Children

Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the Health Officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update. Last month the FDA and CDC approved the updated COVID booster for children 6 months to 4 years old. Today let’s talk about that.

Should my young children get the updated COVID booster?
Yes they should. The updated COVID booster will help protect children from getting seriously ill and lower COVID transmission. It will also help keep your child in daycares or preschools. The sooner you get your child their updated COVID booster the better their protection while a new variant is circulating.

When should my young child get the updated COVID booster?
For young children 6 months to 4 years old the answer differs if they’ve already been vaccinated or not.

Let’s start with young children who’ve gotten the Moderna vaccine. If your young child has gotten the two dose primary series, they should get the Moderna updated COVID booster at least two months after the last dose. If your child hasn’t started the primary series or has only had one shot, they need to complete the two dose primary series with the original vaccine before getting the updated booster.

Next let’s walk through what happens for young children who got the Pfizer vaccine. If they completed the 3 dose primary series, there is no recommendation for an updated booster. If your young child hasn’t been vaccinated or has only gotten 1 or 2 doses of the original Pfizer vaccine, then the third dose of the primary series should be the updated booster instead of the original vaccine.

What are possible side effects from the updated booster?
Many children experience no side effects. If there are side effects, they tend to be mild and go away within 1 to 2 days after the shot. Side effects may include:

  • Soreness or swelling at the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Crankiness
  • Sleepiness
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Or sometimes fever

The risk of serious side effects, such as myocarditis which is an inflammation of the heart muscle, is exceedingly rare in this younger age group.

What if my young child had COVID already?
Children who had COVID, just like adults, can wait up to 3 months after they were infected by COVID to get another vaccine dose.

If you have questions about vaccinating your child, contact your healthcare provider or the Anne Arundel County Department of Health. To make an appointment to get your young child vaccinated, check out our website at aacounty.org/covidvax.

Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others. We’ll see you next week.

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