Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted on Wednesday to recommend that adolescents age 12-17 should receive a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster five months after being immunized.
The advisers voted 13-1 in favor of the change. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is expected to sign off on the recommendation, which could make the booster shots available for children as early as this week.
Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration also authorized the use of a Pfizer-BioNTech booster in adolescents, while also shortening the time between the completion of primary vaccination of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and a booster dose from six months to five.
“Throughout the pandemic, as the virus that causes COVID-19 has continuously evolved, the need for the FDA to quickly adapt has meant using the best available science to make informed decisions with the health and safety of the American public in mind,” acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D., said in a statement on the agency’s change.
In a statement Tuesday, the CDC’s Walensky urged eligible Americans to get a COVID booster as quickly as possible.
“As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to update our recommendations to ensure the best possible protection for the American people,” Walensky said.
“Today’s recommendations ensure people are able to get a boost of protection in the face of omicron and increasing cases across the country, and ensure that the most vulnerable children can get an additional dose to optimize protection against COVID-19,” she continued.
The recommendations for booster shots for those who initially received vaccines made by Moderna or Johnson & Johnson have not changed.
Those who received a Moderna vaccine should seek their booster after six months, while those who received Johnson & Johnson should get one after two months.