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COVID-19: Bivalent Boosters Protect against New Subvariants, Pediatric Vaccination Rates Remain Low

New data released Nov. 18 indicate that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccine, intended to protect against the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, demonstrates a clear immune response to the globally emerging BQ.1.1 subvariant.

Results showed the bivalent vaccine booster elicited a greater immune response against tested omicron sublineages compared with the original monovalent vaccine, regardless of prior infection status.

Similarly, Moderna announced Nov. 14 that its bivalent boosters authorized in the United States and Europe offer superior protection against BQ.1.1 compared with the original Moderna vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends individuals aged 5 years and older receive at least one bivalent booster dose if it has been at least two months since their last COVID-19 vaccine dose.

CDC Study Finds Low COVID-19 Vaccinations Among Kids

A new CDC study released Nov. 18 found that four percent of children aged six months to four years old have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The study, based on interviews conducted in July, found that among those interviewed, 59 percent of children in the age range remain unvaccinated but had a parent open to vaccinating their child. However, 37 percent of the unvaccinated children had a parent that was reluctant to vaccinate.

The analysis also indicated that confidence of vaccine safety varied by race or ethnicity and household income. Openness to vaccination was higher among parents of Hispanic, Black, and Asian children compared with parents of white children, and higher among parents of children in urban areas compared with parents of children in rural areas.

The report stressed that health care provider recommendations and assurances of COVID-19 vaccine safety by trusted persons could increase vaccination rates among young children.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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