The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has lowered the age of eligibility to 5 for children to get the bivalent Covid-19 booster shot.

The booster, manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, is a single dose of vaccine that targets the original strain of the coronavirus and the highly contagious subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which is the dominant strain in Hawaii.

The Pfizer version became available for people ages 12 and up last month, while Moderna’s minimum age was 18. Now younger kids can get it, too, as officials warn a winter coronavirus surge may be coming.

One made by Pfizer will be available for 5- to 11-year-olds, while Moderna has one for those as young as 6. Children will get kid-sized doses.

“This is great news for parents who want to protect their young children,” state Health Director Elizabeth Char said Wednesday in a news release.

The kids can get the latest version at least two months after their last dose, whether that was their primary vaccination series or an earlier booster, the FDA said.

According to DOH spokesman Brooks Baehr, parents can schedule an appointment for their children immediately, depending on the pharmacy.

The state has ordered more than 14,000 doses of Pfizer’s booster, which may arrive in the coming days, he said.

On Wednesday, Hawaii reported a seven-day Covid positivity rate of 5.6%, with five new deaths over the past week. More than 77% of the population has been fully vaccinated and  81.6% has received at least one booster shot.

An Important Note

If you consider nonprofit, independent news to be an essential service that helps keep our community informed, please include Civil Beat among your year-end contributions.

And for those who can, consider supporting us with a monthly gift, which helps keep our content free for those who need it most.

This year, we are making it our goal to raise $225,000 in reader support by December 31, to support our news coverage statewide and throughout the Pacific. Are you ready to help us continue this work?

About the Author