Illustration of beach with chair and beach ball accompanied by covid-19 booster shot


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Make summer fun COVID safe with vaccinations, boosters

Published on Wednesday, June 1, 2022

By: Annie Oeth,

Day camps, theme parks and other fun activities may be safer because Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine boosters are now available for children ages 5 to 11.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the boosters for children May 19 after its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended boosters in an 11-1 vote with one abstention.

The booster is a 10-microgram dose that can be given five months after the primary two-dose COVID-19 vaccination to increase protection.

Portrait of April Palmer

“We certainly recommend boosters as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unless the patient has had a severe reaction to a previous vaccination such as myocarditis or an allergic reaction,” said Dr. April Palmer, professor and chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

This comes as the number of new COVID-19 cases in Mississippi is increasing. According to the Mississippi Department of Health website, the seven-day average of new cases was 48 on March 30. By May 30, that number was 312.

“With the number of COVID variants, the boosters are needed for better protection,” Palmer said.

In January, the CDC authorized COVID-19 booster shots for children ages 12 to 15. The vaccinations became available through an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May 2021.

For children ages 5 to 11, Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations are available at a lower dose. The vaccine has been shown to be nearly 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in children in that age group.

As of June 1, about 10 million American children ages 5 to 11 have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, representing 35 percent of that age group, according to the CDC. More than 89 percent of Americans older than 18 have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced June 2 that they have completed their submission requesting emergency use authorization from the FDA for their COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 6 months to 5 years. Children younger than 5 are the only population for whom a COVID-19 vaccine is not available.

At Children’s of Mississippi, UMMC’s pediatric arm that includes the state’s only children’s hospital, COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters are available at the Batson Kids Clinic at 421 S. Stadium Drive in Jackson.

Portrait of Elizabeth Sims

Dr. Elizabeth Sims, a pediatrician at the Batson Kids Clinic, said she’s seeing a rise in COVID patients of all ages.

“I would strongly recommend that all patients 5 years of age and older who are eligible for a COVID vaccine receive the initial series as well as a booster dose,” she said. “Parents should consider getting the COVID vaccine booster for children prior to returning to school in the fall, if they are eligible, as exposures may increase when they return to the classroom. We know that vaccination can decrease severity of illness and hospitalizations among patients that test positive for COVID, so the vaccine is an important tool in keeping children healthy.”

The above article appears in CONSULT, UMMC’s monthly e-newsletter sharing news about cutting-edge clinical and health science education advances and innovative biomedical research at the Medical Center and giving you tips and suggestions on how you and the people you love can live a healthier life. Click here and enter your email address to receive CONSULT free of charge. You may cancel at any time.