Updated COVID-19 boosters for kids on their way to Georgia
Georgia’s Board of Public Health officials said Tuesday that in-state providers have already ordered variant-specific COVID boosters for kids. That came before official authorization from the Federal Drug Administration on Wednesday afternoon.
The new single-dose booster shots are said to offer better protection against the most highly-transmissible variants of COVID, with genetic information from both the original strain and omicron-variants.
Recommended for kids five and older, the bi-valent boosters are available from both Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna. According to recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, the updated boosters should replace the original monovalent boosters at least two months after primary vaccinations.
About 200,000 kids up to age 10 have been vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least one dose.
Among adults, the updated booster hasn’t been that popular. Recent polls show one in five adults have never heard of the bi-valent boosters, approved for distribution from Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna in August.
Alexander Millman is the board’s Chief Medical Officer. During the Tuesday meeting, he said some healthcare providers in Georgia have already pre-ordered the new booster for kids.
“This is something that is likely going to be getting rolled out very, very soon,” Millman said.
FDA authorization gives a green light to other providers to place orders for the pediatric booster.
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Healthcare providers are warning of a possible surge in COVID-19 infections in the colder months. Cherie Drenzek, state epidemiologist, presented information about three omicron sub variants of concern -- BA 4.6, BF 7, BA 2.75.
“We've now seen a trio of new Omicron variants that are again beginning to rise steadily over the last few weeks,” Drenzek said. “And in some of these situations, these variant numbers have actually tripled.”
In Georgia, none of those sub variants comprise more than 20% of cases so far. But Drenzek encourages prevention strategies as the nation enters its sixth wave of the virus. Though vaccinations and antivirals have made a difference, every week, an average of 100 Georgians are still dying from COVID-19.
Drenzek said a rise and fall of infections from variants is likely for the next several years.