HealthDay News — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday endorsed the emergency use of the Pfizer booster shots for children ages 12 to 17 years, expanding protection to adolescents and teens as students return to classes and the highly contagious omicron variant surges across the country.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky backed a recommendation that came hours earlier from the agency’s vaccine advisory panel.
“It is critical that we protect our children and teens from COVID-19 infection and the complications of severe disease,” Walensky said in a statement. “We now recommend that all adolescents aged 12 to 17 years should receive a booster shot five months after their primary series. This booster dose will provide optimized protection against COVID-19 and the omicron variant. I encourage all parents to keep their children up to date with CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration first announced the emergency use authorization of booster shots for these young Americans on Monday.
In arriving at its decision on Wednesday with a 13-1 vote, the CDC advisory panel pointed to rising COVID-19 hospitalizations among the young. Adolescents ages 12 to 15 years can get boosters immediately. Teens ages 16 years and older were already eligible for booster shots, but the panel strengthened that recommendation.