FDA Has Just Authorized a Pfizer Booster Shot for Children Ages 12 to 15

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Many adults who are vaccinated against Covid-19 have had the opportunity to get a booster shot to further protect themselves from Covid and the new omicron variant; however, children ages 5+ have only had the option of getting the first and second shot in order to be fully vaccinated.

If you have been wanting to have your young teens get a Covid-19 booster shot, we have good news. The FDA has made some important updates to their emergency use authorization for the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. One of these updates is that children ages 12 to 15 are now eligible for a booster shot. In addition, children between the ages of 5 and 11 are also eligible for a third dose if they are immunocompromised.

In a press release, the FDA explained, “The agency has determined that the protective health benefits of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to provide continued protection against COVID-19 and the associated serious consequences that can occur including hospitalization and death, outweigh the potential risks in individuals 12 through 15 years of age.”

Reducing the eligible age for a booster shot is not the only important update the FDA made. They also reduced the amount of time you have to wait between getting the second dose of the vaccine and the booster shot. It used to be six months. It is now five months.

In order to make their determination that the benefits outweigh the risks for a booster shot in the 12 to 15 age group, the FDA explained that they “reviewed real-world data from Israel, including safety data from more than 6,300 individuals 12 through 15 years of age who received a booster dose of the vaccine at least 5 months following completion of the primary two-dose vaccination series.”

As far as reducing the amount of time between the first two primary shots and the booster shot, the FDA explained that “peer-reviewed data from multiple laboratories indicate that a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine greatly improves an individual’s antibody response to be able to counter the omicron variant. Authorizing booster vaccination to take place at five months rather than six months may therefore provide better protection sooner for individuals against the highly transmissible omicron variant.”

Data from Israel also indicates that there are no additional risks when getting a booster shot at 5 months instead of waiting until 6 months.

Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. explained, “Throughout the pandemic, as the virus that causes COVID-19 has continuously evolved, the need for the FDA to quickly adapt has meant using the best available science to make informed decisions with the health and safety of the American public in mind.” She added, “With the current wave of the omicron variant, it’s critical that we continue to take effective, life-saving preventative measures such as primary vaccination and boosters, mask wearing and social distancing to in order to effectively fight COVID-19.”