On Monday, the FDA authorizes the Pfizer booster for children ages 12 to 15. This latest authorization was crucial with the rapid spread of the last COVID-19 variant, Omicron. On Sunday, the U.S. set the highest record of pediatric patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. In addition, the FDA shortened the timing of the booster shots from six months to five months for everyone over the age of 12.
The CDC met this week to determine the recommendation for the booster shots in children ages 12 to 15. Furthermore, on Tuesday, the CDC recommended that any child from ages 5 to 11 years old who are immune-compromised should receive an extra dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The additional dose would come 28 days after their second shot. This new recommendation means that millions of Americans are now eligible for an extra dose.
Currently, 33% of eligible people in the U.S. received a COVID-19 booster shot. It is still a six-month waiting period for patients who received the Moderna vaccine. There is no clear indication of a waiting period for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Dr. Peter Marks, predicted it would take “weeks to months” for the agency to sort through data on mixing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with third doses of one of the mRNA vaccines. “Those data are becoming available from those who receive complex combinations in Europe and elsewhere,” Marks said. “As we get those data, we’ll analyze them and then potentially make recommendations.”
The agency said that it found “no new safety concerns” following a booster shot in young teenagers. Fortunately, no new reports of two types of heart inflammation called myocarditis or pericarditis linked to the boosters. As of now, only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for 5-11-year-olds. Lastly, the dosage in the Pfizer booster shot is the same as the first two (Pfizer) vaccines.