As the US deals with a surge in omicron related COVID infections, the country is trying to deal with it by ramping up immunization processes. To that end, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has greenlit Pfizer booster doses for children aged between 12 and 15.
Previously, boosters were recommended for anyone over 16. However, regulators took a call on January 3, that boosters would also be okayed for the aforementioned age group, once enough time elapsed since the last dose.
This decision comes as classes are poised to start again after the holidays. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has a decision on its hands whether boosters will be recommended for young teens. They are expected to make an announcement later this week.
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For now, the FDA has stated that the age group receiving the booster can take it five months after the last dose, contrary to the six months that was mandated earlier. While the vaccines are still the best form of protection against serious illnesses that can occur from the variants of the coronavirus, authorities are pushing booster shots as an additional layer to stop milder infections from breaking through, as a result of the extremely transmissible omicron variant.
While children haven’t shown serious illnesses, compared to adults, the alarming rate of hospitalization among unvaccinated children has prompted this move. Made by Pfizer and BioNTech, this vaccine is the only option children in the US have, for booster shots. Pfizer is also studying whether the vaccine, in smaller doses, can be applied to children below five years of age.
Recently, kid-sized doses were made applicable for those between five and 11, in November 2021. Experts say that they should be protected a while once the vaccination course of two doses is complete. However, the FDA ruled that in severely immunocompromised children of this age, a third dose would be allowed 28 days after the second. Notably, this is the same window offered to adults and teens who are at risk due to compromised immunity.