Louisiana children ages 5 years and older are now eligible to receive the updated COVID-19 bivalent booster, after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization expanding the ages eligible for the new booster.
The updated boosters are formulated to offer continued protection against the original strain, while also offering new protection against the two lineages of the Omicron variant, BA.4 and BA.5, which represent over 70% of currently circulating virus.
CDC and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) now recommend the below updated booster options if it has been at least two months after the primary vaccination series or the previously approved monovalent booster dose:
- Moderna: Individuals ages 6 through 17 and older
- Pfizer-BioNTech: Individuals ages 5 through 11 years and older (Previously, the FDA had authorized the updated Pfizer bivalent booster dose in individuals 12 years of age and up)
This updated guidance is effective immediately.
CDC and LDH recommend everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination. You are considered up to date if you have completed a primary series and received the most recent booster dose recommended for you by CDC. CDC recommends that people:
- Ages 6 months through 4 years receive all COVID-19 original (monovalent) primary series doses.
- Ages 5 years and older receive all COVID-19 original (monovalent) primary series doses, plus an updated (bivalent) booster
- You can check if and when to get COVID-19 boosters with CDC’s COVID-19 booster tool.
“We welcome this updated guidance from the CDC and FDA. Now, Louisiana families are able to offer their younger children additional protection against COVID-19, which has caused severe outcomes in so many vulnerable residents, including children,” said LDH State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter. “As the state health officer and a parent of young children, I urge parents to continue to exercise prudence, especially as we prepare for the holiday season. The flu vaccine is also critical, as we anticipate an active flu season. I encourage Louisiana residents to get both the updated COVID booster and flu vaccine, so we can enjoy this time together in good health.”
Since March 2020, Louisiana tragically has lost 25 children to COVID-19. In addition, LDH has confirmed 346 cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) – a serious condition associated with COVID-19 in which different parts of the body become inflamed.
LDH encourages parents and caregivers to contact their child’s pediatrician to find out if they offer the COVID-19 booster and to make a plan, as some providers may not receive their initial shipments until next week. Or, visit vaccines.gov to find a provider near you, then call or visit the provider’s website to make an appointment. For a person younger than age 18, parental/caregiver consent is needed to get the shot. LDH has developed a consent form that can be found on its website at ldh.la.gov/Covid-19K-12.
Families can also call the COVID-19 Support Hotline at 1-855-453-0774 to speak with a medical professional, find a nearby vaccine provider, and schedule an appointment.
It’s also time to get your flu shot
Ideally, everyone six months of age and older should get their flu shot by the end of October. That is because it can take time for your body to recognize and respond to the vaccine.
It is safe and convenient to get the COVID-19 vaccine, including the updated bivalent booster, and the flu vaccine at the same time.
After two years of mild flu seasons due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts like mask wearing and social distancing, U.S. health officials including LDH are preparing for what could be a more severe flu season. Some countries in the southern hemisphere, which can be predictors of flu activity in the northern hemisphere, are experiencing their most severe flu season in five years.