Pfizer asked US regulators on Monday to expand the use of its updated COVID-19 booster vaccine to children ages 5 to 11.
Elementary school-aged children have already received pediatric doses of Pfizer’s original vaccine, one-third the dose given to everyone 12 and older — two primary vaccines plus a booster.
If the Food and Drug Administration agrees, they will begin receiving a children’s dose of the new omicron-targeted formula when it’s time for their booster.
The FDA’s head of vaccines, Dr. Peter Marks, said last week that he expects a decision on boosters for this age group soon.
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech also announced a new study of the omicron-focused booster in even younger children, those aged 6 months to 4 years, to test different doses.
Updated boosters made by both Pfizer and rival Moderna launched earlier this month for everyone 12 and older. They are an improvement on vaccines that have already saved millions of lives—a combination or “bivalent” injection 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.
The hope is that the modified boosters will help limit ongoing cases of COVID-19 and stop another winter surge. As of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 4.4 million Americans had received an updated booster so far.