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Health official: Kids need to get COVID boosters before summer starts

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June 1st, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Health experts are encouraging Iowans to make sure their children are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations before summer vacation starts. In May, the Centers for Disease Control expanded its recommendations for booster doses to include children who are five to eleven years old. Mike Brownlee, chief pharmacy officer at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, says kids should be fully vaccinated — and boosted — before heading off to summer activities. “So as we think about where people are traveling to, they may be traveling into areas that are higher risk,” Brownlee says. “We’ve seen that changing throughout the country where, with this new sub variant, it’s still spreading, the virus is still here, the pandemic is still a real thing.”

Brownlee says state data show just about a quarter of the state’s five-to-eleven-year-olds are fully vaccinated, and COVID cases are rising across the country. “We know that millions of kids have been infected,” he says. “Last I remember, about 30% of those that don’t really have other conditions still end up being hospitalized. Federal health officials recommend children get the booster shot five months after their last dose, or three months after if they are immunocompromised.

(reporting by Natalie Krebs, Iowa Public Radio)