CDC adds Covid-19 vaccinations to immunization schedules for children, adults
For children: The CDC recommends that healthy children 6 months to 4 years old receive a primary series of two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech monovalent Covid-19 vaccine followed by a third dose of a bivalent vaccine.
Children aged 5 to 12 should receive two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine followed by a bivalent shot. Kids 12 and up should get either two doses of the Moderna, Pfizer or Novavax vaccine followed by a bivalent booster. Currently, only Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech manufacture updated bivalent shots that target coronavirus variants that were circulating widely last fall.
Immunocompromised children should receive three doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine as a primary series instead of two, and should also receive a bivalent booster.
Pediatric vaccines are smaller doses than adult vaccines, and in all cases, the CDC recommends that children receive doses appropriate for their age.
For adults: Healthy adults should receive a primary Covid-19 vaccination of two doses of the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech or Novavax vaccine and a bivalent booster, similar to children. Some adults may choose to receive a Novavax booster instead if they would not like the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shot, or those boosters aren’t available.
Adults with compromised immune systems should receive either two doses of the Novavax vaccine, or three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine and a bivalent booster.
The agency recommends that adults who got the one-dose Covid-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson and one booster dose, followed by a bivalent booster.
Background: In October, the agency’s vaccine advisory committee voted unanimously to update the schedule to include Covid-19 shots, and to include Covid-19 shots in the federal Vaccines for Children Program, which provides free vaccines for children who are eligible for Medicaid, un- or under-insured, or are part of the nation’s indigenous population.
Nearly 85 percent of adults in the U.S. have completed their primary Covid-19 vaccination series, according to the CDC, but only a third have received a bivalent booster. Just over 12 percent remain unvaccinated.
A third of children 6 months to 17 years old have completed their primary Covid-19 vaccination series, but over 90 percent of children 6 months to 4 years have not received a single shot.
What’s next: The FDA’s vaccine advisory committee recently voted unanimously to recommend that all primary vaccination series switch to the updated bivalent shot, but the agency has yet to adopt these recommendations. The committee also discussed a possible path forward to include yearly Covid-19 booster vaccinations, similar to the annual flu shot, but it did not formalize a path forward.