Here’s When You Should Give Your Older Kids a Booster Vaccination

The CDC has announced that teens are now eligible for booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Until now, boosters have only been for adults aged 18 and over . Children with weakened immune systems can now also receive a third primary dose, even if they are not yet old enough to receive a booster.

The timeline is also different for adolescents than for the general population. While the rest of us should get a booster dose six months after completing our first series, children aged 12 to 17 should get a booster dose five months after the second dose.

So far, we are talking only about Pfizer vaccines. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are not approved for this age group. (There’s a chart here showing which vaccines are allowed for which age groups , in case you forgot, which even I do sometimes.)

Therefore, the recommendations for children aged 5 years and older are as follows:

  • Pfizer’s first shot
  • At least three weeks later, the second dose of Pfizer
  • If the child is at least 12 years old, then five months after the second vaccination, he may receive a booster dose of Pfizer.

The CDC has also recommended a third primary dose for “moderate to severe” immunocompromised children older than 5 years of age. This is not technically considered a booster; they just have a three-dose primary series instead of a two-dose series. This is now in line with the recommendation for immunocompromised adults. The vaccination schedule for an immunocompromised child would look like this:

  • Pfizer’s first shot
  • At least three weeks later, the second Pfizer injection
  • At least four weeks after the second injection, the third dose of Pfizer
  • If the child is at least 12 years old, then five months after the third vaccination, he can receive a booster dose of Pfizer.

These schedules are the same as for adults, except that boosters for children aged 12 to 17 are given five months after the last primary shot, while for adults the period is six months.

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