Start the school year by getting your kids vaccinated

As students return to classrooms, pediatrician Dr. Beth Ebel says this is a sensible time for children to receive a booster COVID-19 vaccination, if they’re eligible.

“Getting this (current) third dose, or the booster dose, has been shown to provide better protection against the Omicron variant that we're going to see as kids get back to school,” said Ebel, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “It's time for your kid to get the booster if he or she is above 5 years of age.”

On Aug. 31, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized two new booster vaccines engineered to target Omicron variants along with the original strain of COVID-19. Both are awaiting final emergency authorization from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) before they become available.

Older children may soon be eligible to receive one of the revamped booster vaccines, as the CDC is considering Pfizer-BioNTech's formulation for people ages 12 and up. The updated Moderna formulation will be available only to adults.

At this time, the CDC recommends that children 5 and older get one COVID-19 booster after completing their primary two-shot series. Some children over age 12 and who are moderately or severely immunocompromised are eligible for two booster shots.

Now is also a good time to ensure that children's routine immunization schedules are up to date, Ebel said, as many children have missed vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I see vaccines as freedom and as getting back to school, reclaiming our lives, and what we have lost for the last couple of years,” she said. “Part of the path to that is to get covered for your vaccines so we prevent these easily preventable illnesses and keep our children well.”

Download broadcast-ready soundbites on vaccinations for children.

Other resources:

Public Health Seattle & King County has answers to some common questions about the new COVID-19 booster vaccinations.

View the CDC’s guide for when to receive a booster.

UW Medicine