KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Thursday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot to children ages 12-15 and approved an additional primary dose for immunocompromised children ages five to 11.
The announcement comes after the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized Pfizer booster shots for children ages 12-15 earlier this week.
“It has been proven that that the COVID-19 vaccine is effective and is the best tool to protect you and your loved ones from serious illness, hospitalization and death. Our hospitals continue to report that the large majority of patients hospitalized with COVID, particularly those on ventilators, are not vaccinated,” Janet Stanek, KDHE acting secretary, said in a news release. “Today’s announcement to expand eligibility opens up the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot to an additional 36,000 children who received their primary series at least five months ago. The Pfizer booster shot is shown to increase the neutralizing antibodies by 25-fold compared to just two doses. Now is the best time to get the booster shot or get the primary series if you have not gotten it to protect yourself and your family.”
The updated authorizations made to booster shot eligibility were:
- Children ages 12-15 are eligible for a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine booster five months after completion of their primary series. According to the release, 36, 474 of the 68,476 children in the state who received their Pfizer vaccination series are now eligible to receive a booster dose.
- Kansans, in general, can now receive a booster shot only five months after completing their Pfizer vaccination series, down from a six-month waiting period. The waiting period for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (two months) and the Moderna vaccine (six months) has not changed.
Also, KDHE updated their guidelines for immunocompromised people receiving a third dose of the vaccine. Children ages five to 11, who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, can now receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after their second dose.
Along with the updated booster eligibility announcement, KDHE urged Kansans to continue to get vaccinated and receive a booster as the omicron variant spreads throughout the state.
Following the state's decision to expand booster eligibility, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment announced they would similarly expand eligibility.
"The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment will offer these shots to eligible adolescents by appointment beginning today, Jan. 6," the department said.
Johnson County Department of Health and Environment Director Dr. Sanmi Areola told the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Thursday the county has done "quite well" in vaccinations but is behind on boosters.
According to JCDHE, 70.7% of the county is fully vaccinated, but only 32.5% of fully vaccinated people in the county have received a booster dose.
In addition to JCDHE, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, announced it will expand booster eligibility beginning Friday.
Booster shots for those 12 and older will be available at:
- Kmart site (7836 State Ave)
- COVID vaccines: Fridays, 12-6 p.m.
- COVID tests: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Both vaccines and testing are free, no appointment or insurance is required.
- UG Public Health Department building (619 Ann Ave)
- COVID vaccines: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- By appointment only. Call 913-573-8855
- COVID vaccinations are free of charge. No insurance is required.