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FDA and CDC Updated Recommendations For Pfizer Booster Shots and Third Doses For Children

On January 3, 2022 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) came out with a statement that made three updates to their current guidelines. First, they approved the Pfizer booster shot for children aged 12 to 15 years old. Secondly, the time recommended between the first two primary doses of the Pfizer vaccine and the Pfizer booster was shortened from six months to five months. Lastly, the FDA approved a Pfizer third dose for children aged 5 to 11 years old who are immunocompromised.

Pfizer Booster Shot Recommended for Children Age 12 to 15 Years Old

The FDA determined that the protective health benefits of the Pfizer booster in this age group outweigh the risks. The booster will protect against the risks of hospitalizations and death. It was determined that the booster vaccine will improve the children’s antibodies and provide better protection against the new omicron variant. Currently, only the Pfizer booster shot has been approved for children aged 12 to 15 years old. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots for children are still under review.

Pfizer Booster Shot Time Recommendation Shortened From 6 Months to 5 Months

The FDA reviewed research data from Israel and concluded that children between the ages of 12 and 15 years old that received a booster shot at 5 months after their first two primary shots did not have any new safety concerns. They did not have an increase in side effects of myocarditis or pericarditis. Getting the booster at 5 months instead of 6 months will provide children more protection at an earlier time.

Pfizer Third Dose Approved For Immunocompromised Children Age 5 to 11

It is now approved for immunocompromised children ages 5 to 11 to receive a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine. A third dose is different then a booster shot due to the fact that it is given beginning at 28 days after the initial two primary shots. It was determined that immunocompromised children may not receive enough protection from just the first two primary shots due to their conditions so a third dose is recommended. This only applies to children who are immunocompromised and only to the Pfizer shot. Moderna third doses are still under review.

Centers for Disease Control Updated Recommendations

On January 4, 2022 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released an update to their recommendations that agrees with what the FDA approved. The time period for the Moderna (6 months) and Johnson & Johnson (2 months) booster shots has not changed. The CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky was quoted “As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to update our recommendations to ensure the best possible protection for the American people. Following the FDA’s authorizations, 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. If you or your children are eligible for a third dose or a booster, please go out and get one as soon as you can. Additionally, FDA took action this week to authorize boosters for 12–15 year olds”.

References

Coronavirus Disease 2019. (2022, January 4). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2022/s0104-Pfizer-Booster.html

Office of the Commissioner. (2022, January 3). Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Takes Multiple Actions to Expand Use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-takes-multiple-actions-expand-use-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine