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Connecticut children 5 and up eligible for new COVID-19 booster while just half are vaccinated

COVIC Vaccine Clinic
File: Joe Amon
Connecticut Public
5-year-old Cass Cordoba watches the lava lamp held by his sister as EMT Caroline Moretti with Griffn Health gives him the shot during the COVID Vaccine Clinic for children at Elm City Montessori School, November 06, 2021.

The state’s top public health official is advising parents to get their elementary-age kids the COVID-19 bivalent booster which was recently approved for children as young as 5.

“As we're going into this winter season, I'm very hopeful that those parents that came out to get their children vaccinated will get their children this booster as well,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani. “The most recent variants [BA.5 subvariant] that are circulating, will be covered by this newer booster shot.”

Juthani is on a mission to not just get the state’s youngest boosted, but vaccinated as well. Just 51% of children between the ages of 5 and 9 received their initial COVID-19 vaccine, according to data reported to the CT WiZ immunization information system as of Oct. 11.

“I haven’t given up on getting more children, their primary series,” she said. “Within two months of that, they would be eligible to get this new booster as well.”

According to the DPH, there is no shortage in supply, but residents may not be able to find availability on the weekends they walk-in to some pharmacies.

“But, usually if you go within a five-mile radius of a given pharmacy, you can find other pharmacies that have appointments,” Juthani said.

She said parents on the fence, if worried about myocarditis – inflammation of the heart muscle, should know that the COVID-19 infection also can cause myocarditis. They should think about “how the benefits of vaccination may be better than the harms from the disease itself.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says, “The known risks of COVID-19 illness and its related, possibly severe complications, such as long-term health problems, hospitalization, and even death, far outweigh the potential risks of having a rare adverse reaction to vaccination, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis.”

COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters are free in Connecticut. To book an appointment online, vist CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, the DPH Yellow Van, and the state COVID-19 portal.

Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.