CDC Panel Backs Pfizer Booster Shot for Children 12 and Over

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) today recommended that 12- to 17-year-olds in the United States should get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot “at least 5 months after a primary series under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization.”

The CDC had already recommended allowing the Pfizer booster for 16- and 17-year-olds, but today’s recommendation adds the 12-15 group and strengthens the “may” recommendation for the 16- and 17-year-olds to “should.”

The committee voted 13-1 to recommend the booster for ages 12-17.

As Medscape Medical News reported earlier this week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine first COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for 12- to 15-year-olds.

The FDA action updated the authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and the agency also shortened the recommended time between a second dose and the booster to 5 months or more (from the previous 6 months), based on new evidence.

In addition, a third primary series dose is now authorized for certain immunocompromised children 5 to 11 years old. The CDC on Tuesday also backed the 5-month time frame and a third primary series dose for some immunocompromised children 5 to 11 years old. But the CDC delayed a decision on a booster for 12- to 15-year-olds until it heard from the ACIP today.

The decision came as school districts nationwide are wrestling with decisions of whether to keep schools open or revert to a virtual format as cases surge.

Marcia Frellick is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. She has previously written for the Chicago Tribune, Science News, and, and was an editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times. Follow her on Twitter at @mfrellick.

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