RALEIGH — Children ages 5 to 11 can now get a COVID-19 booster dose five months after the date of their most recent dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
“Summer brings vacations, opportunities for kids to play together and family gatherings, and it’s important for everyone to stay up-to-date on their immunizations,” said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “Children ages 5 to 11 can now have the added protection of a booster dose, which significantly increases protection against serious illness, hospitalization, death, and long-term complications caused by COVID-19.”
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation that children ages 5 through 11 Get Your Booster Dose was released just as COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in North Carolina.
Long-term symptoms of COVID-19 can include multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, which can cause inflammation in different parts of the body, as well as cough, body aches, shortness of breath, headaches, mental confusion , difficulty sleeping and more. It can also cause lasting damage to the heart, kidneys, and other organs.
“Children are vulnerable to the virus and long-term complications, just like everyone else,” said Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, State Health Director and NCDHHS Medical Director, “Cases that begin with mild symptoms can progress rapidly, and even mild cases can have symptoms that last several weeks or months.”
During the recent surge in cases due to the Omicron variant, people who received the booster dose were seven times less likely to be hospitalized and 21 times less likely to die from COVID-19, compared to those who were not vaccinated .
“Prevention is the best treatment to protect against COVID-19,” Secretary Kinsley said. “Make sure you and your entire family are up to date on your vaccinations, including booster doses when eligible.”
Booster doses are free and available anywhere COVID-19 vaccines are available, regardless of health insurance or immigration status. Pfizer’s booster dose is the only brand currently available for children ages 5 to 11. Call ahead to make sure the location you choose has the age-appropriate Pfizer vaccine available.
North Carolina’s actions are based on recommendations from the FDA, CDC, and evaluation by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Read the full CDC statement here .
For more information on how childhood immunizations work and where you can find an appointment near you to receive immunizations or booster doses, visit Vaccine.nc.gov . The North Carolina COVID-19 Vaccination Help Center can also help you make an appointment by calling 888-675-4567. The Help Center is open from 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday and from 8 am to 4 pm on weekends.