NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Following the latest recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New Mexico Department of Health is now recommending kids ages 5 through 11 years old receive a third, or booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Earlier this week, the FDA expanded eligibility of booster doses for the younger age group.

Following FDA approval this week, FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said the authorization of a booster for kids was based on what’s happened since omicron became the dominant variant in the U.S. since the end of 2021. In a news release, Dr. Califf said, “the omicron wave has seen more kids getting sick with the disease and being hospitalized, and children may also experience longer term effects, even following initially mild disease.”

The latest recommendation on the booster dose for children from ages 5 through 11 is directed at kids who are considered healthy, without a moderate or severe immunocompromised health status. The recommendation comes as the BA.2 subvariant of omicron is driving another increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States.

State data shows New Mexico is seeing an increase in COVID cases through the month of May. On Monday, May 16, a state report shows 2,479 new cases were detected in New Mexico between May 10 and 16. In the week prior, May 3 through 9, the state reported 1,764 new cases. Going back another week, New Mexico reported 1,372 new COVID cases between April 26 and May 2.

NMDOH says children ages 5 through 11 who are considered moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive a fourth shot, or “booster” dose at least 3 months after completion of an initial 3-dose primary series. The 3 dose primary series is as follows: a first dose followed 3 weeks later by a second dose and then four weeks later by a third dose.

In a news release, NMDOH Acting Secretary Dr. David Scrase endorsed the new booster recommendation, citing his own concerns for the safety of his family. “My grandchildren are the joy of my life, and I want to do all I can to keep them safe. All New Mexicans and their families have the tools to fight increasingly contagious variants, and getting a booster when eligible is right at the top.”

So far, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is the only vaccine currently approved for the 5 through 11 year old age group. For more information on where to get a vaccine in New Mexico, visit the state’s vaccinenm.org website.

Broadly, the CDC is also continuing to recommend a single booster shot for everyone ages 12 years and older after completing their COVID-19 vaccine primary series. The CDC is recommending two booster doses for the following age groups: adults ages 50 years and older, people ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, and people who got 2 doses of Johnson and Johnson Jannssen vaccine. Click here for more information on how the CDC qualifies booster doses.