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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

North Carolina rolls out new COVID-19 boosters for kids as young as 5

Nick de la Canal
/
WFAE
A spokesperson for Mecklenburg County's health department said in an email Thursday the county had ordered the new boosters and expected them to arrive next week.

New COVID-19 boosters for children as young as five years old are rolling out across North Carolina, state health officials said Thursday.

The new boosters, which federal health agencies previously authorized for people 12 and older in September, are designed to protect against the original strain of the coronavirus as well as against the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

A spokesperson for Mecklenburg County's health department said in an email Thursday the county had ordered the new boosters and expected them to arrive next week.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer booster for children as young as five and the Moderna booster for those as young as six. The shots are free.

“Kids five and older can now get the most up-to-date protection from COVID-19 from an updated booster to help renew their body’s defenses against the latest variants of the virus this fall and winter,” Kody Kinsley, North Carolina’s health secretary, said in a Thursday news release.

State health officials said everyone five and older should get the updated COVID-19 booster at least two months after receiving their last booster or their initial two-dose vaccine series. The state health department lists pharmacies and health care providers that offer the updated boosters for kids on its website.

The arrival of the new boosters for children in North Carolina comes as vaccination rates for children lag in the state. As of Thursday, state data showed 27% of children ages 5 to 11 had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, along with 48% of those ages 12 to 17.

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Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literature and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. Reach her at cdonnelly@wfae.org or on Twitter @donnellyclairee.