Health & Science

Children ages 5 and up can now get a COVID-19 booster shot in Houston

Harris County Public Health began distributing Pfizer’s booster shot on Monday, while Texas Children’s Hospital and Memorial Hermann Hospital starting giving the shots late last week.

Mikey Farias, 10, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 at a state-run site in Cranston, R.I., Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021.

At least two Houston hospitals and the county’s health department are now distributing COVID-19 booster shots for kids ages 5 and up.

Harris County Public Health began distributing Pfizer’s booster shot on Monday, while Texas Children’s Hospital and Memorial Hermann Hospital starting giving the shots late last week. Appointments can be made through the county’s vaccine registration page or Texas Children’s vaccine registration page.

Established patients with Memorial Hermann can contact the hospital’s pediatrics locations to make an appointment.

A spokesperson for the Houston Health Department said they plan to start distribution later this week.

This comes less than a week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer’s booster shots for kids ages 5 to 11 who had received their second dose of the shot at least five months ago. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots have not yet been approved for children under 18.

The booster shot helps increase antibody levels against the virus, reducing the risk of longer-term symptoms. According to Dr. Michael Chang, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Memorial Hermann, about 10% of children ages 5 to 11 suffer from long COVID months after being infected.

“Patients who were very good students are having school performance problems,” Chang said. “And it’s related to the fatigue and lack of energy.”

Chang said that just 30% of children in Harris County have received their first two shots of the vaccine. Just over 67% of all eligible people in Harris County have received their first two shots, according to state data.

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