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Joint Statement on Western States Support for Boosters for Children Ages 5-11

Date: May 20, 2022
Number: NR22-088

SACRAMENTO – Today, California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, and Director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, issued a joint statement supporting the recommendation by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP), and the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize use of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11 at least 5 months after completing their primary series.


In additional vaccine booster news, the CDC strengthened its recommendation that those 12 and older who are immunocompromised and those 50 and older should receive a second booster dose at least four months after their first booster dose.


"COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to prevent hospitalization and serious illness, and data has shown that California's vaccination efforts have saved tens of thousands of lives. The Omicron surge and its infectious subvariants have shown that children are also vulnerable, with their case rates and hospitalizations increasing across California – we support the recommendations of our federal and state partners to authorize and recommend the use of a booster dose for children ages 5 and up. It's important to get kids vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible."


"Additionally, over the past two months we have seen steady increases in cases, and more recently an increase in hospitalizations in California. While older Americans have the highest coverage of any age group of first booster doses, most older Americans received their last dose (either their primary series or their first booster dose) many months ago, leaving many who are vulnerable without the protection they may need to prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death. 


The State's SMARTER Plan has maintained the operational readiness to immediately offer this additional boost in protection of eligible Californians. CDPH recommends that everyone over the age of 5 receive their primary series and booster dose. Vaccines are safe and effective for children, and completion of the primary series and boosters remain the safest way to prevent serious illness including MIS-C, long COVID, hospitalization and death from COVID-19, including of our most vulnerable.


Parents can find a vaccine for their child at or by calling 1-833-422-4255. Visit Vaccinate All 58 to learn more about the safe and effective vaccines available for all Californians aged 5 and older or talk to your child's health care provider.

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