Third booster dose for 12-17 year-old children will be rolled out from 12 March

Fourth Booster dose for the vulnerable also coming up

MoH to get vaccines for under 5 once CDC or WHO approves it

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children in the 12-17-year-old age group have to go for their booster shot after five months of completing their second dose. 

All the eligible children in the country between 12-17 years received a second dose sometime in September 2021, and therefore, the health ministry is rolling out the third booster dose for the children by 12 March 2022.

The Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo said 12 March is the last day of their exams and right after that all the eligible children will be given booster shots.

The health minister also said the ministry is in discussion with the companies for the vaccines for under five children.

The minister said the moment they have clarity, evidences and approval from WHO and CDC, then the country will roll out the vaccines for under five children. 

An official said the health ministry will continue to provide booster doses to those who are eligible based on the recommendations from the WHO, CDC, and depending on the outbreak situation, it will be provided through health facilities based or if required, mobile teams will be arranged, in case of continued lockdown or movement restrictions in the country.

Similarly, the first and second doses for children between 5-11 years old have been rolled out. Booster doses will be rolled out on the recommended dates.

Around 75,000 children aged between 5 to 11 years have been vaccinated, so far. At the end of the fifth day of the nationwide vaccination program for children between 5 to 11 years of age, 92.32 percent of eligible children across the country have been vaccinated, and only a few number of children experienced minor Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) or side effects, such as injection site pain, mild fever, and headache.

There are approximately 83,227 children aged between 5-11 years according to the National Statistics Bureau projected population.

Meanwhile, the health ministry plans to roll out a fourth dose to all the eligible population in the future. The third booster doses for the general population above 18 years old have been rolled out, and 83.21 percent of the total population has been vaccinated in the country.

Although CDC has made no recommendation of fourth doses of coronavirus vaccine for the general public, but the agency updated its guidelines in October to note that certain people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may receive a fourth dose of the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.

For the immunocompromised people, a single booster shot continues to provide high levels of protection against severe disease caused by Omicron. Meanwhile, the vaccine makers continue to study fourth doses in broader populations.

According to Reuters, those who received a fourth shot were three-to-five times as protected against serious illness and twice as protected against infection, compared to the thrice-vaccinated.

Similarly, a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine given to people over 60 years of age in Israel made them three times more resistant to serious illness than thrice-vaccinated people in the same age group.

They also said the fourth dose, or second booster, made people over 60 years twice as resistant to infection as those in the age group who received three shots of the vaccine.

A preliminary study published by Israel’s Sheba Medical Center found that the fourth shot increases antibodies to even higher levels, but probably not to the point that it could completely fend off the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

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