RALEIGH, NC (WECT) – Children ages 5-11 can now get a COVID-19 booster after it was given the green light by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursday after approval from the Food and Drug Administration on May 18th.
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), booster shots are available at all COVID-19 vaccination clinics, and children ages 5-11 are eligible for a booster five months after their most recent Pfizer shot.
The New Hanover County Pandemic Operations Center, located at 1507 Greenfield Street in Wilmington, begins offering booster doses to this age group on Friday, May 20th. 13. Walk-ins are welcome.
“A booster shot helps a person extend their protective immunity to the virus, and there is robust data that this booster for children is safe and important, especially given our current COVID climate with increasing cases,” said NHC Pandemic Operations Manager Jon Campbell.
According to New Hanover County’s COVID-19 polls, the positivity rate is rising.
Over the past month, New Hanover County’s percentage positivity for testing has risen from 3 percent on April 8 to 16.9 percent on May 20, and the total number of cases reported within a 14-day window has gone from 150 to 621 in the same period time frame.
“New Hanover County continues to see an increase in infection, and experts believe the impact on the national health system is likely to peak in 3-4 weeks,” Campbell said. “Combining a healthy lifestyle, minimizing the risk of exposure and staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccination provides the best protection against serious illness, which helps limit the impact on our health care system.”
Currently, the Omicron BA.2 variant is the most widely used strain in New Hanover County; however, other varieties are discovered elsewhere in America. After the rise in cases earlier in the year slowed and mask mandates were dropped, many people have failed their guard.
“Summer brings vacations, play dates, and family reunions, and it’s important for everyone to stay up to date on their vaccines,” NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley said in a news release. “Children ages 5 to 11 can now receive the extra protection of a booster dose, which significantly increases protection against serious illness, hospitalization, death, and long-term complications from COVID-19.”
Children are vulnerable to the virus, and long-term symptoms occur as multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) in adolescents, which can affect different parts of the body. According to NCDHHS, symptoms include cough, body aches, shortness of breath, headache, brain fog and difficulty sleeping. It can also cause permanent damage to the heart, kidneys or other organs.
“Cases that start with mild symptoms can develop quickly, and even mild cases can have symptoms that last for weeks or months,” said NCDHHS State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson in a press release.
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