FDA Expands COVID-19 Booster Shot Indication For Children Aged 12 and Older

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The FDA moved to shorten the time between the second and third vaccine dose from 6 months to 5 months for recipients of Pfizer-BioNTech.

This article was originally published on ContagionLive.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now expanded the indication for COVID-19 booster shots to children as young as 12 years old, in light of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Previously, booster doses, including a third shot for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna or a second shot for Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) recipients, were indicated for all persons aged 16 years and older. Now, booster dose eligibility has expanded the indication to children aged 12 - 15 years.

The decision will be reviewed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky and could go into effect once endorsed.

Additionally, the administration moved to shorten the time in between the second and third dose from 6 months to 5 months for recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only approved COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 12 - 17 years old. Following the CDC’s decision, these populations should receive a booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech 5 months after their second.

As the Omicron variant has shown more effectiveness at causing breakthrough infections among vaccinated individuals, federal health agents have moved quickly to approve booster doses once indicated to be safe and effective.

Children are less likely to experience severe or fatal COVID-19 infection, but vaccinations may further inhibit them from taking up valuable space in overcrowded hospitals and prevent children from spreading the virus to immunocompromised groups of individuals.