U.S. authorizes COVID-19 boosters for teenagers amid Omicron fears

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday, recommended individuals 16 and 17 years of age get a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after completing their first two doses.

The CDC recommendation came hours after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech third shot to this age group.

According to CDC Director, Rochelle Walensky in a statement, “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 6 months post their initial Pfizer vaccination series,” Walensky said.

The FDA authorized the use of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for all individuals 18 years of age and older after completion of primary vaccination with any FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine on Nov. 19.

The new move on Thursday has expanded the age group eligible for the booster dose.

Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for adolescents aged 16 and 17.

The CDC’s recommendation and the FDA’s emergency authorization came a day after Pfizer and BioNTech released initial lab data indicating that booster shots provide high levels of protection against the highly mutated Omicron variant.

Omicron infection cases have been found in at least 22 U.S. states as of Thursday, CDC data show.

READ ALSO: Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine neutralises Omicron with three shots



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