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Bivalent COVID-19 vaccine recommendation expands to pediatric patients

This includes children between the ages of 6 months to five years.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control recommended expanded use of bivalent COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months to five years.

These vaccines include both the original strains of COVID-19 as well as the dominant Omicron strains.

Jenny Galbraith is Immunization Manager with the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services. She says an initial allocation of 2,200 pediatric doses of the bivalent vaccines has been ordered, and providers can begin offering them this week.

Galbraith says there is a difference between the pediatric Moderna and Pfizer series.

"The Moderna bivalent vaccine is a booster dose, same as the adult products for kiddos six months through five years. If you complete the primary series, you can get a booster dose two months after that. The Pfizer product is a little bit different; the Pfizer kiddos had a little bit different of a primary series - it was actually a three dose primary series. So instead of making it a bivalent booster, they essentially turned the third dose in this series into a bivalent product. So it's not necessarily a booster, but it's still available for some kiddos."

Only 2.5 percent of North Dakota children ages four and younger have completed their primary series of vaccines for COVID-19.

She says the shots are still especially important for people aged 65 and older, those who are immunocompromised and those with chronic conditions.

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