Boosters provide extra protection for some; youth wait for vaccine


Hazel Waltenbaugh

VACCINATING MINNESOTA. The CDC recommends those 65 and older as well as those with underlying medical conditions get the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot.

The past few months of 2021 have brought several groundbreaking advancements in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. In August, the US FDA and CDC authorized booster shots for anybody who had been vaccinated by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines against COVID-19 and had a compromised immune system, such as having a chronic illness. In September, the Pfizer vaccine got approval for individuals under 12, and the booster shot recommendation was updated to include more people, and the Pfizer vaccine was given approval for vaccinating individuals ages 5-11.

Booster shots have proven to be very helpful in the continuous prevention of COVID-19 since they were utilized. Data from testing and from earlier results in Israel (which has been giving out booster shots since July 30) shows that the dose is safe and that it raises antibody levels immediately, especially with people over 65. Officials in Israel also reported that older people who got the booster shot were almost 20 times less likely to get severe COVID-19.

This September the booster shot recommendation changed to include people over 65 or live in a long term care facility, over 50 and have an underlying health condition such as diabetes or heart disease, or if they were working or living in conditions with high risk of exposure to COVID-19.

In addition, it has been released that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for people ages 5-11 the same month. 27% of COVID-19 cases at hospitals are in children this past month, as well as other countries such as Indonesia and Brazil also having high rates of children being infected with the virus. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in total through September 23, 5.7 million COVID cases were recorded in children.

In regards to the new approval, many upper school students with siblings affected by this change are looking up to the future. “I feel like my whole family in general will be more comfortable with allowing my sisters to go hang out with friends and stuff,” 9th grader Cerena Karmaliani said, who has two younger twin siblings that are eleven. “I’ve gotten a little bit more freedom than they do right now, because I am vaccinated and they’re not.”

Approval for even younger individuals may be coming soon in addition to this, as results from vaccine trials on children ages 2 to 5 could come by the end of 2021.