Community Health Programs is offering the updated bivalent Covid-19 vaccines to young children aged 6 months through age 4, now that the CDC has approved dosages for this age group.
“We strongly urge parents to have their young children vaccinated to help prevent or avoid serious illness from Covid-19, especially with other seasonal viruses circulating,” said Dr. Laura Need, a CHP pediatrician and associate medical director. “Let’s avoid unnecessary hospitalizations by keeping our children as safe as possible this winter season.”
The CHP Mobile Health Unit will offer the vaccine during its stops at various county locations, and the schedule can be found here.
CHP has the new Pfizer bivalent vaccine for ages 6 months to 4 years, which is approved by the CDC for the third dose in the primary series for this age group. Currently, no Pfizer booster is approved for this age group
Meanwhile, CHP urges area residents of all ages to obtain boosters, as booster vaccinations are lagging both nationwide and locally. CHP notes that boosters and vaccines for both adults and younger children are underutilized, in part due to the impression that Covid-19 is not such a serious illness, or due to misinformation about the effectiveness of the bivalent booster.
The booster has been adapted to fight the Omicron variant and others that have surfaced in recent months and can prevent or reduce serious illness from Covid-19. The bivalent has 30-60 percent protection against symptomatic infection, still a significant guard against serious illness, and somewhat similar to protections in the flu shot.
A survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation in September found that awareness about the bivalent booster was lacking, with 50 percent of respondents saying they knew little or nothing about the booster at that time. In late November just 14 percent of eligible Americans 18 and older had gotten the shot, which was released in September.
The bivalent booster has been available to adults and older children for several months. On Dec. 9, the CDC expanded the use of the bivalent vaccine to the youngest children.
Also this week the CDC urged regular use of masks for people of all ages, due to the risks of a “tripledemic” of flu, Covid-19 and RSV.