The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's independent advisory panel voted 11-1, with one abstention to give kids the third shot, at least five months after they've received their second.
Dr. Peter Hotez professor of pediatrics and molecular virology at the Baylor College of Medicine says they did the right thing. He says we're seeing declining protection after two doses with the Omicron variant. "The third dose will rev up virus neutralizing antibodies and offer better protection and better resilience against the variants, just like it's doing for adolescents and adults."
However children cannot get vaccinated on their own. Their parents or guardians have to take them and Hotez says only about 30 percent of kids five to 11 have been vaccinated. "It's been a tough sell nationally. I don't know if this third dose will encourage more parents but it's still the right thing to do. We still need to do more advocacy to explain to parents the risk of serious illness and long covid in young kids."
And the time to do that is now. Omicron BA.1 was contagious enough. It spawned the even more infectious BA.2. Now BA.2.12.1 is in line to outcompete that and is even more contagious. "We're in the middle of a new wave. It's very substantial and almost as high as Omicron in terms of the number of new cases. This variant is so transmissible. Keeping our kids safe is paramount. Hopefully it will start to go down in June but then we're at risk for other waves as we head into the summer."