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5- to 11-year-olds now eligible for COVID-19 booster shots in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health has approved COVID-19 booster shots for children 5 to...
The Illinois Department of Public Health has approved COVID-19 booster shots for children 5 to 11 years old.
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 2:04 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) - The Illinois Department of Public Health has informed vaccine providers across the state that they should be prepared to give COVID-19 booster shots to 5- to 11-year-olds. This comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially recommended the Pfizer booster dose at least five months after children in that age group complete their initial series of Pfizer shots.

“We encourage every parent or guardian of children 5 and older to consider a booster vaccination for their eligible child,” said IDPH Acting Director Amaal Tokars. “If your children have not yet received their primary dose, it’s not too late to start now.”

Tokars said everyone eligible for COVID-19 vaccination should be taking the opportunity to get vaccinated and boosted as cases are rising across the state. The CDC reported Thursday that more than 4.8 million children ages 5 to 11 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic started. 15,000 children in that age group have been hospitalized due to COVID-related illness and over 180 have died.

While COVID-19 tends to be less severe for children than adults, health care experts said the omicron variant caused more kids to become sick and hospitalized. IDPH noted that children may also experience long COVID syndrome even if they have mild symptoms.

“These vaccines, which were authorized for children in November 2021, help protect children from both serious complications and long COVID syndrome,” IDPH officials stated.

More than 22 million vaccines have been given to 5- to 11-year-olds in Illinois. IDPH reports more than 40% of those children have received at least one dose and more than 36% are fully vaccinated.

Federal authorities are still considering whether they will authorize a COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5.

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