Booster shots becoming more critical as omicron variant causes infections to surge
The FDA has authorized Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for use in children between 12 and 15 years old.
The agency decided to give the go-ahead after analyzing data from 6,300 people in Israel.
“These additional data enabled the FDA to reassess the benefits and risks of the use of a booster in the younger adolescent population in the setting of the current surge in COVID-19 cases,” the agency said. “The data shows there are no new safety concerns following a booster in this population.”
Rare cases of myocarditis in young people had been a concern of the agency, however there were no occurrences from the Israel test group.
Adults who received their second vaccine shot will now also only need to wait five months before getting their booster, down from six months, according to the agency.
“Based on the FDA’s assessment of currently available data, a booster dose of the currently authorized vaccines may help provide better protection against both the delta and omicron variants,” said Peter Marks, an FDA vaccine official. “In particular, the omicron variant appears to be slightly more resistant to the antibody levels produced in response to the primary series doses from the current vaccines.”
Certain immunocompromised children aged 5-11 have also been given eligibility by the FDA to receive a third shot. The FDA is not currently recommending booster shots for children in the age group who are not immunocompromised.
“Children 5 through 11 years of age who are fully vaccinated and are not immunocompromised do not need a third dose at this time, but the FDA will continue to review information and communicate with the public if data emerges suggesting booster doses are needed for this pediatric population,” the agency said.