US expands COVID-19 booster recommendations to include 16- and 17-year-olds

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday officially expanded its recommendations on COVID-19 vaccine booster doses to include everyone age 16 and older.

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Update 5:02 a.m. EST Dec. 10: Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, issued the following statement about the agency’s decision:

”Today, CDC is strengthening its booster recommendations and encouraging everyone 16 and older to receive a booster shot,” the statement read. “Although we don’t have all the answers on the omicron variant, initial data suggests that COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen the protection against omicron and other variants. We know that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and I strongly encourage adolescents ages 16 and 17 to get their booster if they are at least six months post their initial Pfizer vaccination series.”

So far, only Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine has been authorized for 16- and 17-year-olds.

Original report: More people in the U.S. may be able to get a COVID-19 booster shot.

The Associated Press reported that it will be allowing people as young as 16 years old to get the Pfizer vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization for 16- and 17- year-olds who have already had completed their initial dose at least six months ago can now qualify for the Pfizer/BioNTech booster shot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has to sign off on the boosters for the age group and is expected to also approve the plan.

Pfizer, according to the AP, is the only vaccine that is approved for anyone under the age of 18. It is not known if teens under the age of 16 will also get a third Pfizer shot.

Children as young as 5 can get a low-dose Pfizer shot. So far about 5 million children between 5 and 11 years old have received the first dose, the AP reported.

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