The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that it has authorized updated COVID-19 shots for children 6 months old to 5 years old. The booster targets omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 and the original version of the coronavirus.

In October, the Pfizer booster and Moderna booster were authorized for everyone 5 years and older.

"More children now have the opportunity to update their protection against COVID-19 with a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, and we encourage parents and caregivers of those eligible to consider doing so – especially as we head into the holidays and winter months where more time will be spent indoors," FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said in a statement.

The FDA said young children would be eligible for the booster two months after they had completed Moderna's two-dose primary series.

Also, children in the age group who have not yet received the third dose of Pfizer's primary series will receive the omicron shot as their third dose. Children who have already completed Pfizer's three-dose primary series cannot currently get the omicron shot as a booster or fourth dose.

"As this virus has changed, and immunity from previous COVID-19 vaccination wanes, the more people who keep up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, the more benefit there will be for individuals, families and public health by helping prevent severe illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths," Califf said.

The authorization comes as respiratory illnesses like the flu, RSV and COVID have spiked in 2022.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FDA's authorization means there are more than 267 million Americans who will be eligible for the booster.