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The US FDA approves an updated booster vaccine for children ages 5 and older

The updated booster shot is intended to strengthen protections for children as restrictions ease in the US and schools resume in-person learning.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a state health agency, announced that it has approved booster shots for children ages five and older to improve protection against the COVID-19 virus.

The FDA announced Wednesday that the agency had updated the emergency use approvals for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, bivalent, and Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, bivalent, to allow for their use as a single booster in younger age groups to approve.

The booster dose can be given as a single injection two months after completion of the primary or booster dose.

“Since children have returned to school in person and people have resumed their pre-pandemic behaviors and activities, there is a possibility of an increased risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19,” the agency said in a press release. “Vaccination remains the most effective measure to prevent the serious consequences of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death.”

While children are less affected by COVID-19 than adults, experts are encouraging parents to make sure their children are vaccinated when a new school year starts in the US. While measures to contain the spread of the virus have been largely relaxed in the United States, vaccination remains a key component of protection against COVID-19.

The FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines for children under five in June, opening the door to immunizing young children against the virus, which has killed more than a million people in the United States but was less severe in children.

In June, US President Joe Biden called the availability of vaccines for children a “relief” for parents.

As public concerns about the pandemic wane, the FDA has warned that vaccination is still an important form of protection, especially with the emergence of new variants of the virus. The FDA approved a booster shot against the omicron variant of the virus in late August.

“While it was largely true that COVID-19 tended to be less severe in children than adults, as the various waves of COVID-19 have emerged, more children have contracted the disease and been hospitalized,” the agency said on Wednesday .

“Long-term effects can also occur in children, even after an initially mild illness. We encourage parents to consider a basic vaccination for children and to introduce an updated booster dose if necessary.”

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