CDC Recommends Expanded Eligibility of COVID-19 Booster to Children 12 to 15 Years Old

The CDC endorsed the FDA’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation to expand eligibility of booster doses to those 12 to 15 years old. The CDC now recommends that adolescents ages 12 to 17 years should receive a booster shot 5 months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series. Only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for adolescents 12 to 17 years of age.

During the ACIP panel’s discussion prior to voting to recommend the booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 5 months after the two-dose primary series, panelists noted that the Omicron surge, its transmissibility, and its effect on children’s well-being were important factors in their vote. ACIP members spoke about experiences with children waiting 18 hours in the emergency department to be seen in the hospital and of children infecting adults in the household, with serious results.

Data show that COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen protection against Omicron and other SARS-CoV-2 variants. ACIP reviewed the available safety data following the administration of over 25 million vaccine doses in adolescents and concluded that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. “This booster dose will provide optimized protection against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “I encourage all parents to keep their children up to date with CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.”

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