Thursday the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that all 5-to-11-year-old children who completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccine at least five months ago should receive a single booster dose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed this recommendation. In addition, the CDC strengthened its guidance stating that everyone ages 50 and older should receive a second booster dose at least four months after the first booster.
“Everyone ages five and older is recommended to receive COVID-19 vaccine to prevent severe illness, including hospitalization and death,” Immunization Director, Molly Howell said. “Immunity wanes with time and booster doses are needed to restore protection against severe disease.”
According to data presented at the ACIP meeting Thursday, 87% of children hospitalized with COVID-19 were not vaccinated. The independent committee reviewed safety data for COVID-19 vaccines in children showing vaccination continues to be safer than COVID-19 illness. Almost 60% of North Dakotans ages five and older have already taken the important step of choosing to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Over half of those individuals have also received a booster dose. Vaccines for children younger than five may be available starting in June, pending U.S. FDA authorization.
In the past couple of weeks, COVID-19 cases in the United States and in North Dakota have increased. The Omicron variant continues to be the predominant variant in North Dakota. Individuals who recently had COVID-19 illness can wait 90 days to start vaccination or be boosted.
“North Dakotans are encouraged to have a conversation with a trusted healthcare provider about vaccination,” said Howell. “By getting vaccinated and boosted, individuals are protecting themselves from severe illness.”
Information about COVID-19 vaccine providers and clinics near you can be found on the NDDoH COVID Vaccine Locator page. Individuals can also contact the NDDoH public health hotline at 1-866-207-2880 for questions related to COVID-19 and for assistance in scheduling a vaccine appointment.