Pfizer's third dose approved for 12 to 17 year-olds

third dose
Army Spc. Angel Laureano holds a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., Dec. 14, 2020. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday endorsed the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to approve the booster dose for 12- to 15-year-olds.

In light of this, beginning this Thursday, January 6, the CDC is recommending that adolescents 12 to 17 years of age receive a booster vaccination 5 months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series.

Through a brief statement, the agency noted that the decision comes after data have shown that COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen protection against omicron and other SARS-CoV-2 variants. 

For its part, the ACIP reviewed the safety data available after the administration of more than 25 million doses of vaccines in adolescents, where it concluded that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

So far, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 is licensed and recommended for adolescents aged 12 to 17 years.

"It is critical that we protect our children and adolescents from COVID-19 infection and the complications of severe disease. Today, I supported ACIP's vote to expand eligibility and strengthen our recommendations for booster doses. We now recommend that all adolescents aged 12 to 17 years receive a booster shot 5 months after their primary series," said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D. "We are now recommending that all adolescents aged 12 to 17 years receive a booster shot 5 months after their primary series," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

In turn, he stressed that this booster dose will provide optimized protection against COVID-19 and the omicron variant in this sector of the population.

He also encouraged all parents to keep their children up to date with the CDC's COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.

The news comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this Monday, January 3, that it is now recommending that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issue a new vaccine for young people aged 12 to 15 years old. (FDA) for 12 to 15 year olds, in the face of a growing number of cases across the country, driven by the Omicron variant.

In the midst of millions of students returning to school after the holiday break, the agency also shortened the time between the second Pfizer dose and a booster dose to at least five months, with more and more expected to come in for vaccination.

"Based on FDA's evaluation of currently available data, a booster dose of currently licensed vaccines may help provide better protection against the delta and omicron variants. In particular, the omicron variant appears to be more resistant to the levels of antibodies produced in response to doses of the primary series of the current vaccines," Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said at the time.

It should be noted that the fourth wave of contagions in the country has deeply affected the population, and has caused the spaces for COVID-19 testing to be saturated.

In addition, hospitals are once again beginning to be overwhelmed by those in need of specialized care for the disease, most of them unvaccinated.

You may be interested in: FDA Clears COVID Booster Vaccine for Children 12 to 15 Years Old

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