Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

Staff reports | A booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dramatically raised antibody levels in children age 5-11 in a clinical trial, the company said in a news release today, inching the drug manufacturer closer to expanding its booster shots to healthy elementary-school-age kids. 

U.S. health experts already urge those age 12 and up to get one booster dose for the best protection against COVID and recently gave the option of a second booster to those 50 and up. But now, Pfizer says new data shows healthy 5-11-year-olds could benefit from a kid-sized dose. 

Though data has not been published or vetted by independent experts, a small study allowed 140 kids who’d already gotten two shots to get a booster six months after. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged the two initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine offer little protection to children in this age group, with the vaccine’s effectiveness falling to 12% in the winter. Researchers point to the low protection for the reason the omicron wave infected a record number of children. 

But when a booster was added, researchers found the extra shot greatly improved their immune response, with 30 of the children demonstrating a 36-fold increase in antibodies against the coronavirus. 

Pfizer plans to submit its data to the federal Food and Drug Administration in the coming days for emergency use authorization. Currently, Pfizer boosters are available only to people ages 12 and up.

Latest COVID-19 data

In South Carolina, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) transitioned to weekly reporting of new COVID data last month, with Tuesday’s update being the most recent of reports including data taken from April 3-9.

State health officials on Tuesday reported 1,071 total new cases of COVID-19, with 711 confirmed, and five total new deaths, three of which were confirmed. As of April 9, 108 COVID-19-positive individuals are hospitalized, and 10 COVID-19-positive individuals are ventilated.

No positivity rate was reported by DHEC.

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 67.1%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 58%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 20.2%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 16.4%

For more information, visit the S.C. SCDHEC COVID-19 dashboard.