CDC director urges children who previously had Covid infection to get vaccinated

A 10-year-old receives the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut on November 2, 2021.

Joseph Prezioso | AFP | Getty Images

Small children with antibodies to Covid due to a prior infection should still be fully vaccinated, said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr Rochelle Walenski on Wednesday.

Like many other infectious diseases, Walenski said people who previously had Covid have some form of protection against re-infection, but scientists still don’t know how long this immunity lasts or how stable it is.

A study by the CDC was released Friday that examined more than 7,000 people hospitalized with Covid-like diseases and found that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had been provided. better protection against coronavirus than previous infection. According to the study, unvaccinated people who recovered from Covid were about five times more likely to test positive for Covid than people who received both mRNA vaccines and had no previously reported infection.

“And so we strongly recommend vaccinating children, even children who have had the disease,” Walenski said Wednesday during a press briefing at the White House about the pandemic.

Walenski’s comments were made the day after she authorized the distribution of doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to children aged 5 to 11. According to the White House, 28 million children in the United States are currently eligible for vaccination.

Children tend to be less likely than adults to have severe cases of Covid, but a small proportion do, public health officials and pediatricians say.

There have been at least 1.9 million cases of Covid in this age group, 8,300 hospitalizations and at least 94 deaths, according to data provided by the CDC on Tuesday. At least 2,316 of them suffered from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C, a rare but serious complication associated with Covid, according to the agency.

Federal scientists calculated that up to 40% children between the ages of 5 and 11 are already infected with Covid.

The Biden administration said it has purchased enough vaccine to vaccinate all 28 million children aged 5 to 11 in the United States and will distribute it in smaller doses and with smaller needles to make it easier for pediatricians and pharmacists to administer the vaccine to children.

Last week, the administration already began moving 15 million doses from freezers and Pfizer facilities to distribution centers.

Jeff Zientes, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, said Wednesday that “millions more doses” would be delivered to cities and towns across the country over the next 24 hours. Packaging and shipping will continue over the weekend and through next week, he said, with doses delivered to thousands of vaccination sites across all states, tribes and territories.

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