Pediatric COVID booster now available

Published 9:27 am Friday, October 21, 2022

Parents of young children in the Commonwealth are now able to seek a free bivalent pediatric COVID-19 booster vaccine for their children aged five years and older and Piedmont Health District Director Dr. Maria Almond said she is recommending the vaccination.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced Monday, Oct. 18, its recommendation following the recommendation of the booster vaccines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Oct. 12.

“Although the substantial majority of children in the U.S. have already been infected with COVID-19, vaccination provides a known, reliable level of protection, Dr. Almond said. “In fact, when vaccination occurs after natural infection, there is an enhanced immune response. If even a small chance of severe illness or death can be prevented with a safe, reliable vaccination.”

According to Dr. Almond, there are less than 1/3 of children fully vaccinated for COVID-19 in the Piedmont District.

“Our focus continues to be on ensuring that those who have not yet been vaccinated with a primary series have every opportunity to get their vaccine.” Dr. Almond said.

According to the VDH, the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster, currently available for persons aged 12 years and older who have completed their primary series or received their last monovalent booster at least two months ago, is available for children aged 5  to 11 years with dosing of a third of the adult dose. The Moderna bivalent booster, currently available for persons aged 18 years and older who have completed their primary series or received their last monovalent booster at least two months ago, is available for children aged 6 to 11 years with dosing of half of the adult dose and for children and adolescents aged 12 years through 17 years with dosing identical to Moderna’s adult vaccine.

Both bivalent boosters are targeted at the original strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that first emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, and at the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Omicron variant that emerged in the U.S. in November 2021.

Vaccination opportunities may be found at Vaccinate.Virginia.gov.

The Vaccinate Virginia Call Center is an additional source of information; call (877) VAX-IN-VA – (877) 829-4682 – Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information is available in English, Spanish and more than 100 other languages.