Vaccines available for ages 5-11, booster shots accessible


Teen volunteers are participating in a Kaiser study that could accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine’s potential use in young people. (Dreamstine/TNS)

COVID-19 has been affecting the lives of many everyday for over a year, but the United States is slowly coming back together.

“[Some benefits of being vaccinated are] just to decrease the likelihood of you having a severe disease, or dying if you were to get infected,” said Debra Robinson, retired medical doctor and District 7 school board member.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages five to 11. Prior to this, vaccinations from Pfizer were only available for ages 12 and older, however, both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines were only available for ages 18 and older.

“I encourage parents of children of that age group to get their children the vaccine so they do not spread COVID-19 to others who may be more susceptible to the virus, such as their grandparents or other kids with medical conditions,” said Ronald Goldin, doctor of medicine.

In addition to vaccines for ages five to 11, booster shots have also been made for the vaccines.

“If your first vaccine was the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, you actually ought to mix it and have your second vaccine be the Moderna or the Pfizer [vaccine] because you get a much better antibody response,” said Robinson.

It is recommended to get a booster shot six months after your vaccination if you received an mRNA vaccine. Ages 18 and older are eligible to take booster shots for the mRNA vaccines with emergency use. The J&J booster shots are available for ages 18 and older and should be taken two months after getting vaccinated.

“Although COVID-19 vaccination for adults ages 65 years and older remains effective in preventing severe disease, recent data suggest vaccination is less effective at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms over time,” Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

COVID-19 booster shots are recommended as they lessen the likelihood of getting severely infected. They also increase the amount of protection you receive from a vaccine after the prior dose has worn off.

“The cases were dropping before [the booster shot was released], and they have dropped even more [as] people receive the vaccine,” Goldin said.

Vaccines and booster shots are lowering the rate of the spread of COVID-19.

“I’m just waiting for the light at the end of this tunnel. Many other people are tired of living in the land of COVID-19,” said Robinson “I hope that almost everybody gets vaccinated. If not for yourself, for others, and for your loved ones.”