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Dayton Children's Hospital offers COVID booster for children six months and older

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
Claire Myree

The CDC recommends that children receive a booster for the current variant to protect against new strains. Children can receive their booster doses at the Kids Express locations or the Conner Child Health Pavilion.

Dayton Children's Hospital offers the latest COVID-19 booster for children six months and older. The booster for young children is different from the adult version because it contains less COVID antigen.

Dr. Michael Klatte, the Chief of Infectious Disease at Dayton Children’s Hospital says young children have stronger immune systems.

"Their immune systems are more likely to react to a smaller dose of the antigen in the vaccine."

The Centers for Disease Control recommends children six months to four years old receive their initial vaccination, including at least one dose of the current COVID-19 booster. Children 5 to 11-years-old should receive updated boosters.

If children six months to four years old receive their initial vaccination with the Moderna vaccine, the CDC recommends two shots four to eight weeks apart. At least eight weeks after their last shot, they can receive a booster dose.

The CDC recommends three initial doses if children are six months to four years old and get the Pfizer vaccine. The first two doses should be three to eight weeks apart. Children can receive the third dose after at least eight weeks. Then, these children can receive boosters at least eight weeks after their previous dose.

Dr. Klatte says that Dayton Children's will mostly have the Moderna booster available because children can now receive a different booster brand than their original dose.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics has come out and stated that, yes, mixing and matching would be okay."

Booster choices and availability

Some doses of the Pfizer boost will be available for patients who want to receive the same booster as their original vaccine.

The current booster targets the Omnicron variant strain, XBB.1.5. It will also help protect against more recent virus strains because they look similar to the body's immune system. Dr. Klatte says that the relation between different virus strains is like that of a grandchild to their grandparent.

"It's not that the antigen in the vaccine is identical to the currently circulating strain. We're talking about the relationship between either an uncle and a nephew or a child and their grandfather. It's definitely enough to provide sufficient protective immunity, particularly against severe disease."

The COVID-19 virus is still evolving, and staying up to date on vaccinations can protect against future strains.

"Just because the previous one, or the one that was most common six months ago, isn't particularly likely to cause serious illness, doesn't mean the next one won't," says Dr. Klatte.

All children can receive shots at the Kids Express locations. There are Beavercreek, Mason, Springboro, West Chester, and Centerville locations. Parents can receive a spot online to shorten their wait time. Walk-ins are also available.

Dayton Children's Pediatrics patients can also receive vaccinations and boosters at the Connor Child Health Pavilion. Parents can book appointments by calling the sick-visit clinic office at (937)-641-3500.

Children can receive their booster at the same time as their yearly flu shot.