NEW YORK, May 17 — The US Food and Drug Administration has authorised the use of a booster shot of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, the regulator said today.

The authorisation makes everyone in the United States aged five and above eligible for booster doses of the vaccine, although the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still needs to sign off on the shots.

Children below the age of five are not yet eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine in the United States.

“While it has largely been the case that Covid-19 tends to be less severe in children than adults, the Omicron wave has seen more kids getting sick with the disease and being hospitalized,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a statement.

The US government has been urging Americans to get boosters, and for the unvaccinated who are at much higher risk of severe Covid-19 and death to be inoculated.

But it is unclear how much demand is there for the third dose in the 5-11 age group. Just 28.8 per cent of children aged 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated, according to the latest CDC data. — Reuters