HARRISBURG, Pa. — Following approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control authorized the updated COVID-19 vaccine for kids as young as 6 months old.
Children ages 6 months through 5 years are eligible to get either the Moderna or Pfizer shots, both updated to target the omicron variant.
Public health experts said having the updated shot is crucial to protecting against currently circulating strains of the virus.
In preparation for future variants, the FDA is already working on the next vaccine update.
“These efforts include working with scientists to develop the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines, with the aim of developing vaccines that provide broad protection against variants, including variants that we have not yet seen,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
The vast majority of young children remain unprotected. According to CDC data, 95 percent of children ages 5 and under have not received a single dose of the COVID vaccine.
Meanwhile, U.S. military servicemembers may no longer need to get the vaccine.
The U.S. House passed a massive spending bill to fund the Department of Defense for the next year. Within the 4,000 pages of legislation is a requirement that the Pentagon must drop its COVID vaccine mandate for active duty servicemembers.
Republicans had called for the measure, while Democrats said they only accepted it to get the larger bill passed.
White House officials said should the bill reach Pres. Joe Biden’s desk, he will consider the legislation in its entirety.
“We believe that it is a mistake,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “Making sure our troops are prepared and ready for service is a priority for President Biden. The vaccination requirement does just that.”