What Parents Need to Know about the Updated COVID-19 Bivalent Boosters for Kids

What Parents Need to Know about the Updated COVID-19 Bivalent Boosters for Kids

Recently, updated COVID-19 booster vaccines were recommended for children ages 5 years and older by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), following approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The pediatric experts at Le Bonheur Children’s are here to help with questions parents may have about these updated boosters and when children should receive them.

Q: What is the new booster? How is it different from other vaccines?

A: The updated boosters from Pfizer (for ages 5 and up) and Moderna (for ages 6 and up) are called “bivalent” boosters because they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5.

Previous boosters are called “monovalent” because they were designed to protect against the original virus that causes COVID-19. They also provide some protection against Omicron, but not as much as the updated (bivalent) boosters.

Q: Who needs the updated booster?

A: The CDC recommends that people ages 5 years and older receive one updated (bivalent) booster if it has been at least 2 months since their last COVID-19 vaccine, whether that was part of their primary dose series or an original (monovalent) booster.

Before children receive the bivalent booster, they should first complete their primary series of vaccines.

Q: If my child already received a booster, do they still need to get this one?

A: Yes, people who have received an original (monovalent) booster are also recommended to get an updated (bivalent) booster. The virus that causes COVID-19 has changed over time. The different versions of the virus that have developed over time are called variants and subvariants, and the bivalent boosters provide greater immunity to them.

Q: What if my child recently had COVID-19?

If your child recently had COVID-19, you may consider delaying your next vaccine dose (whether a primary dose or booster) by 2 months from when their symptoms started or, if they had no symptoms, when they first received a positive test.

Q: What about children younger than 5?

A: The bivalent boosters are not recommended for children younger than 5 at this time. 

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