New, Updated Fall 2022 COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters Will Be Available for 5-to-11-year-olds Following Federal Approval
The updated vaccines target the current Omicron subvariants
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CHICAGO – Children 5 to 11 years old who have already completed a primary COVID-19 vaccine series are now eligible for the new, updated COVID-19 vaccines following approval from federal health officials, and the vaccines will roll out in Chicago in the coming days, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) said today. These new bivalent boosters for younger children follow the approval of bivalent boosters for older children and adults last month.
“This is great news because it means we can better protect the whole family heading into winter,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “We’re already seeing a lot of children being hospitalized with respiratory viruses right now, even before the cold weather has set in. As we enter the fall and winter months, I urge everyone age 5 and up to get their fall 2022 COVID-19 vaccine – and it’s still not too late for anyone age 6 months and up to start their primary COVID-19 series and be protected.”
The fall 2022 COVID-19 vaccine is the first update to the original vaccine formulation, designed specifically to generate a stronger immune response against the Omicron subvariants currently circulating, and also offer the potential for broader protection against future variants.
“A lot of Chicagoans who were vaccinated in the past don’t realize that they should get the fall 2022 COVID-19 booster,” said Dr. Arwady. “But even if you’ve had COVID boosters in the past, this updated vaccine is different. It’s the very first time we’ve adapted the vaccine to better fight variants, and I’m happy to say that the new booster is a near-perfect match to the variants of COVID circulating in Chicago right now.”
With the federal approval today, pediatric vaccine should start shipping from the federal government as soon as tomorrow. The City has already placed its order for pediatric vaccines and barring shipping delays, CDPH-operated and supported clinics expect to start administering the pediatric vaccine booster beginning Monday. Because the vaccine is authorized for use as of today, locations including pharmacies and doctors’ offices may begin pediatric vaccinations as soon as they have supply.
Similar to the bivalent boosters for those age 12 and up, pediatric bivalent boosters are recommended for individuals at least two months after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series or booster dose. Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent boosters will be available for children ages 5 through 11 years, whereas previously they were only available for people age 12 and up. Moderna bivalent boosters will now be available for children ages 6 through 17 years, whereas previously they were only available for people age 18 and up.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna pediatric boosters use lower, “kid-size” doses than the versions available for adults and older children, which limited side effects in clinical trials. COVID-19 vaccines have undergone and continue to undergo the most intense vaccine safety monitoring in U.S. history. Clinical research has demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of both the original COVID vaccine and the updated boosters. More than 12.7 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have now been given around the world, saving countless lives.
“Getting your whole family up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines now is the best possible way to protect not just your family, but all of Chicago from a potential surge in COVID infections this winter,” said Dr. Arwady. “We’ve also seen a bad flu season in parts of the southern hemisphere, which often means we’ll experience the same, so I urge Chicagoans to get a flu vaccine, too.”
For those who need help finding a nearby vaccine site, Vaccines.gov is a free online service that you can use to search for nearby pharmacies and providers that offer vaccination. Residents can also call the City’s COVID-19 call center at 312-746-4835.
Find updated vaccines/bivalent boosters for your family:
- At local pharmacies across the city. Check websites for more information on availability of the updated COVID-19 vaccine, or check vaccines.gov
- Through CDPH’s in-home vaccination program, Protect Chicago At Home. Updated COVID-19 vaccines are available, as well as primary doses for anyone age 6 months and up. Up to 10 people can be vaccinated at a time. Make an at-home appointment at Chicago.gov/AtHome or by calling 312-746-4835.
- CDPH will continue to host weekend family vaccination clinics at City Colleges of Chicago. This weekend, clinics will be held on Saturday (Harry S. Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave.) and Sunday (Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson Blvd.). These events offer flu shots, Pfizer and Moderna for children 6 months through 4 years old, as well as Pfizer vaccines and the updated bivalent booster doses to all eligible Chicagoans. Clinics will be open 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Registration is recommended and is available at Chicago.gov/COVIDvax. Walk-ins will be accommodated as space allows.
- CDPH is partnering with aldermen and organizations across all 50 wards to provide flu/COVID-19 vaccination clinics this fall, that will include the updated COVID-19 vaccine. This includes clinics held in partnership with the Department of Family and Support Services at locations serving seniors and other congregate settings. View the full schedule and find an event near you at Chicago.gov/VaxCalendar – events will be added as they are confirmed.
All COVID-19 vaccines – including the updated, bivalent boosters for adults and children – are free, with no government-issued ID or insurance is required. Learn more at Chicago.gov/COVIDvax.