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St. Jude doctor says kids ages 5 to 11 should COVID-19 booster

Dr. Diego Hijano told ABC24 he agreed with the CDC's recommendation for a third COVID-19 shot for healthy elementary-age children.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Kids ages 5 to 11 should get a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, advisers to the U.S. government said Thursday. And a doctor at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis agrees.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention quickly adopted the panel’s recommendation, opening a third COVID-19 shot to healthy elementary-age kids — just like what is already recommended for everybody 12 and older.

The hope is that an extra shot will shore up protection for kids ages 5 to 11 as infections once again are on the rise.

ABC24 spoke with Dr. Diego Hijano Friday, who said more parents would consider getting their child vaccinated and boosted.

“The booster comes in handy because we've seen over and over that after receiving two doses, protection declines over time, and the booster will make a difference moving on in the summer with the increase of cases and new variants,” Dr. Hijano said.

RELATED: CDC advisers urge Pfizer booster for children ages 5 to 11

Almost 5 million children ages 5 to 11 have had COVID-19 and doctors said 9 out of 10 children who are hospitalized due to COVID didn’t receive the vaccine.

“Vaccination with a primary series among this age group has lagged behind other age groups leaving them vulnerable to serious illness,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, in a statement. “We know that these vaccines are safe, and we must continue to increase the number of children who are protected.”

The U.S. now is averaging 100,000 new cases a day for the first time since February. And ultimately, the CDC's advisers pointed to growing evidence from older kids and adults that two primary vaccinations plus a booster are providing the best protection against the newest coronavirus variants.

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