CDC, FDA authorize Pfizer booster for 16- and 17-year-olds

The FDA has given Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine booster shots emergency use authorization for 16- and 17-year-olds.   

The FDA authorization has also been endorsed by Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the CDC, according to a Dec. 9 agency news release.

Pfizer requested Nov. 30 that the FDA authorize the booster of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for 16- and 17-year-olds. The FDA's decision followed the release of new data suggesting boosters might play a critical role protecting against the omicron variant.

"Vaccination and getting a booster when eligible, along with other preventive measures like masking and avoiding large crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, remain our most effective methods for fighting COVID-19," Janet Woodcock, MD, acting commissioner of the FDA, said in a Dec. 9 news release. "With both the delta and omicron variants continuing to spread, vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19."

As of Dec. 9, the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are not authorized for anyone younger than 18.

More research is required before a decision is made about boosters for younger children, according to scientists.


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