Bivalent COVID booster shots soon available to kids under 5

Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 6:19 AM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - On December 15, two years ago, the first shipment of COVID19 vaccines arrived in the coastal empire.

After approvals for different age groups, then booster shots and now the bivalent booster tailored for protecting against the Omicron variant, pediatricians are just waiting for one final shipment.

The latest CDC approval comes for the bivalent booster shot for the youngest age group of 6 months to 5 years old.

Dr. Ben Spitalnick from Pediatric Associates of Savannah says they have ordered the vaccine and are now just waiting for the shipment to arrive to begin giving out those shots.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were both approved for kids 5 and under over the summer months. Now, this final approval means they can get a booster shot tailored to the Omicron variant

“If you have been getting the Moderna vaccine, which is two doses, you now get a third of the bivalent booster. If you have been getting the Pfizer vaccine, which was three doses, all they have done is change out the third dose from the original monovalent vaccine to the new bivalent, so whichever one you are getting, it is two doses of original strain and a third dose of the new bivalent booster,” said Dr. Ben Spitalnick from Pediatric Associates of Savannah.

Pediatricians offices and the health department are hopeful they will get in the vaccines by next week and be able to start giving them out before Christmas.

Even though COVID cases are currently low in the region, positive cases are still popping up. Right now, the biggest concern is with the flu cases locally. Dr. Ben says that it is not too late to get your flu shot and still encourages you to vaccinate your kids.

Dr. Ben Spitalnick from pediatric associates of Savannah is urging parents to take their kids to the doctor after a day or two of not feeling well, that way they can get tested. He says they have had a majority of kids testing positive for influenza A this year, while they look miserable with chills, aches and a fever, they are recovering well after supportive care.

“The last three months pediatric offices, emergency rooms, urgent care centers have been overwhelmed, we’ve been busy, it has been a lot of illness. Fortunately most kids have done very well, the hospital has been full but we’ve done very well with flu, RSV and COVID and we hope there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr. Ben Spitalnick/Pediatric Associates of Savannah.

He says typically a break in school is helpful because the kids are not around each other as much and spreading all of those germs and they see numbers start to fall..

With Christmas break coming up in a just a few weeks, he is hopeful that spread will start to slow down as we head into the new year.