What to know about the coronavirus vaccine for children younger than 5

(Megan Jelinger for The Washington Post)

Children younger than 5 are now eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on the shots for an additional 19 million children across the United States.

The CDC recommended a three-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on June 18 for children ages 6 months through 4 years as well as a two-dose Moderna vaccine for children ages 6 months through 5 years.

“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against COVID-19,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement at the time. “We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision, they can.”

Should my child get a coronavirus vaccine? Is it safe? Here’s what you should know.

Here are some things we know about the vaccine for young children.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot designed to target both the original virus and the omicron variant. Here’s some guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

Variants: Instead of a single new Greek letter variant, a group of immune-evading omicron spinoffs are popping up all over the world. Any dominant variant will probably challenge a key line of treatment for people with compromised immune systems — the drugs known as monoclonal antibodies.

Tripledemic: Hospitals are overwhelmed by a combination of respiratory illnesses, staffing shortages and nursing home closures. And experts believe the problem will deteriorate further in coming months. Here’s how to tell the difference between RSV, the flu and covid-19.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people.

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