The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has been approved for use as a booster in 16 and 17-year olds.
CNN reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccine with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending it for this age group.
It’s the first COVID-19 vaccine booster authorized for 16- and 17-year-olds in the United States.
Just as with adults, 16- and 17-year-olds are eligible to receive a booster dose six months after their second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. About 2.6 million U.S. teens in this age group would be eligible for boosters already.
FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Peter Marks said in a news release, “New evidence indicates that vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 is waning after the second dose of the vaccine for all adults and for those in the 16- and 17-year-old age group. A single booster dose of the vaccine for those vaccinated at least six months prior will help provide continued protection against COVID-19 in this and older age groups.”
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky released a statement saying, “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.”
Health officials emphasized that vaccinations, booster shots, wearing masks and avoiding large crowds all remain among the most effect methods for fighting COVID-19.
On Wednesday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced preliminary data that suggest its two-dose vaccine does not provide sufficient protection against infection with the Omicron coronavirus variant, although it may still protect against severe disease. However, the companies found, a booster dose increased protection significantly, to nearly the level of protection its two-dose vaccine provided against the earlier strain of the virus.