Judith M. Persichilli, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health, noted in a May 19 statement that everyone ages 5 and older who has completed their primary COVID-19 vaccine series is now eligible for a booster dose.

That is a result of the Centers for Disease control and Prevention expanding its approval for the Pfizer COVID-19 booster for children ages 5 to 11.

That “is especially welcome news for parents who are concerned with ensuring their children have the strongest protections against COVID-19. The 5 through 11 age group is eligible for a booster dose five months after completing their primary series,” Persichilli said.

She added, “With the uptick in cases and hospitalizations, I encourage anyone who is not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated today to help protect yourself, your family and your community.  Everyone who is eligible for a booster or recommended for a second booster should also get it today for a safer and healthier summer. The CDC also strengthened its recommendation that those 12 and older who are immunocompromised and those 50 and older should receive a second booster dose at least four months after their first.”

Vaccines have proved to be a safe and effective weapon against serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths, Persichilli said. “Our vaccination sites are prepared to incorporate this eligibility expansion immediately.  In addition, we continue to work to prepare for the anticipated roll-out of vaccines for those under age 5 once approved.”

For parents or anyone looking for more information on vaccines, or to find a nearby vaccination location, visit covid19.nj.gov.