Taking a shot

COVID-19 booster approved for children aged 12 and up

Cases of the COVID-19 variant, Omicron, are through the roof as it spreads swiftly across the world.

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Cases of the COVID-19 variant, Omicron, are through the roof as it spreads swiftly across the world.

Janey Parks, Staff Writer

In recent months, COVID-19 cases have been skyrocketing, once again due to the new variant that popped up and is wreaking havoc on many Americans’ lives. 

“Omicron is spreading widely and rapidly throughout the United States,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, said. 

“Fortunately, many cases are occurring among vaccinated and boosted persons and those infections are mild, not requiring hospitalization,” Schaffner said.

 Hospitals all over the country are having staffing issues due to workers getting sick from the variant. Recently, one in four hospitals is reporting critical and condemning staffing shortages during one of the worst times inthe pandemic.

Hospitalizations of adults are rising, but children’s cases are shooting through the roof. More than 4,000 children were hospitalized in the United States as of Wednesday, Jan. 5. The variant is spreading quite fast among younger people. Record numbers of children being admitted to hospitals due to COVID-19 are at an all-time high, furthermore proving that these young teens need to be vaccinated. Only about 33% of eligible people in the U.S. have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster currently.

Initially, in the hope to slow the spread of Omicron, the Food and Drug Association (FDA) set the timing of Pfizer’s booster shots to six months after the initial series of shots for everyone over age 12. The booster shot is the exact same dosage as the first two shots. The recommendation from the FDA was then changed to five months and approved the booster shot for 12 to17 year olds. 

“The change in booster recommendation to five months after the initial vaccine series means tens of millions more Americans will now be eligible for an extra dose,” NBC News said. 

The shortened time period for a booster shot only applies to those who had the Pfizer shots. Those who received the Moderna shots should still wait six months before getting the booster.

“It is critical that we protect our children and teens from COVID-19 infection and the complications of severe disease,” CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said, “We now recommend that all adolescents aged 12-17 years should receive a booster shot 5 months after their primary series. This booster dose will provide optimized protection against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.”

The FDA found “no new safety concerns” following a booster shot in young teenagers linked to the boosters. 

With this crazy and terrible wave of the Omicron variant, it is critical that U.S. citizens take effective, life-saving preventative measures such as vaccination and boosters, mask-wearing and social distancing in order to effectively fight COVID-19.