Booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine are now available to young people aged 12 to 15, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday approved a recommendation from an advisory panel from an agency.
The agency now recommends that young people get a booster shot five months after their first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series.
“This booster dose will provide optimized protection against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. I urge all parents to keep their children up to date with the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations,” Walensky added.
Adolescents aged 12 to 15 years were eligible to receive their first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in mid-May. The CDC supported boosters for older teens in December.
About 5 million children are now eligible.
Overall, only about half of those eligible for a booster shot have received one.
According to CDC data, there are still at least 67 million people over the age of 5 in the United States who have not received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Omicron variant has resulted in an increase in the number of children admitted due to COVID-19, mainly due to its transmissibility as it infects more of the wider population.
Studies have shown that a booster dose can help limit the severity of infection in adults, but even without a booster dose, adolescents have been shown to have less serious illness than adults. It is also unclear what the effectiveness of boosters is among young people, although it is believed that the extra shot helps prevent infection.
Vaccination of children and the adults around them is essential to prevent them from becoming ill.