New Mexico Department of Health: Kids under 5 will be able to get omicron boosters - Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico Department of Health: Kids under 5 will be able to get omicron boosters

FILE – A syringe is prepared with a COVID-19 shot at a vaccination clinic in December 2021. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

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The New Mexico Department of Health announced Wednesday that children younger than 5 will soon be eligible to receive the COVID-19 omicron booster shots.

The announcement comes as New Mexico hospitals are being battered with an influx of people, including young children, who are sick with several respiratory illnesses, including COVID, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, according to local physicians and health officials.

The Health Department’s announcement is in line with federal recommendations. Early this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved the COVID booster shots for children 6 months through 5 years old.

“This is great news as more children have the opportunity to get the most up-to-date protection from COVID-19 variants,” said DOH Deputy Secretary Dr. Laura Parajon. “Vaccines are our best defense against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID. Now is the time to make sure the entire family is up-to-date so we can have the best protection for the winter holidays.”

The Health Department issued a notification to providers this week alerting them that vaccines were approved for young children.

This week, University of New Mexico Hospital propped up a tent outside to create more space to triage adult patients. The Children’s Hospital is also operating above its licensed capacity and a large share of patients are on breathing tubes, Anna Duran, the associate medical officer at UNM Children’s Hospital, previously said.

Health officials have said the best thing people can do to stay safe is stay up-to-date on COVID and flu vaccines, to wear a mask in certain setting and practice other hygienic habits, like washing hands and regularly cleaning surfaces.

The state reported 3,564 new confirmed COVID cases for the week ending Dec. 12. There were 158 people admitted to the hospital during that same seven-day period.

Cases were down about 20% from the week ending Dec. 5.

But health officials have said case counts are likely an undercount because so many people rely on at-home test, which are not included in official COVID reports.

Jodi McGinnis Porter, a spokeswoman for the Health Department, said parents should check with their primary care physician or pharmacy on the availability of vaccines for young children.

Home » Legislature News » Health / Covid Pandemic response » New Mexico Department of Health: Kids under 5 will be able to get omicron boosters

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