CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccine boosters up to age 12

Millions of Americans between the ages of 12 and 15 can now have one Booster vaccination from Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine after the CDC officially adopted new recommendations, backed by a majority of the agency’s external vaccine advisors.

The CDC now says that Americans aged 12 and over who received the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer should receive a third dose as early as five months after their first two vaccinations. Agency officials said enough time had passed to question about 5 million teenagers.

Currently, just over half of Americans in this age group are fully vaccinated.

“This booster dose offers optimized protection against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. I encourage all parents to keep their children informed of the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, ”said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a statement.

Walensky’s move follows a similar decision by the Food and Drug Administration on Monday. According to state supply agreements that govern the use of the vaccines, vaccinators must wait for both FDA and CDC approval before expanding booster eligibility.

The FDA also acted on Monday to shorten the time Pfizer vaccine recipients of all ages must wait after their second dose before receiving a booster dose to five months instead of six – a change that Walensky made on Tuesday without the approval of the panel was passed receipt.

In the discussion on boosters for teens on Wednesday, some of the CDC advisors expressed reservations about potential safety risks and the long-term possibility of additional boosters to stave off future waves of infection, but also acknowledged the imminent threat posed by Omicron and the need for additional shots to protect younger children.

In the past, the Committee has considered weighing the risk of myocarditis, a rare but sometimes serious side effect of heart inflammation associated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in mostly younger men after the second vaccination, versus generally lower rates of serious illness in Children versus adults.

“We are in the middle of this new phase of affecting children, and in great numbers, and I think by the time we know, by the time we have passed this Omicron peak, I am very much in favor of it,” said Dr. Sara Long, a member of the committee.

Data presented to the committee from Israel, which has had third shots given to residents 12 years of age at least five months after the second injection since August, suggests younger children are less likely to develop myocarditis after the third dose .

“The booster’s safety data is very reassuring. With the two different monitoring methods, we have administered over 41,000 doses and only had two cases of myocarditis in our follow-up, ”said the Israeli Dr. Sharon Alroy Prize to the Committee.

Alroy Price said preliminary data gathered by the country had seen a “significant decrease” in COVID cases after the child boosters were launched, which would help contain the high rates of infection there.

Dr. Sara Oliver, of the CDC, told the panel that they estimated that approximately one-third of adolescents vaccinated could “return shortly after eligibility for a booster dose has been upgraded.”

“We know that the demand for pharmacy appointments is currently high and that an extension of the authorization could further burden them,” said Oliver.

Nationwide new hospital admissions from Children with COVID-19 rose to record highs in the last few weeks. The surge now threatens to overflow more than a thousand hospitals currently facing staff shortages, despite growing evidence that Omicron poses a lower individual risk of serious illness compared to the Delta variant.

“Many children and adults come to the hospital for a different reason: accident, heart attack, ulcer, diabetes. And yet, when they are tested in the hospital, they find that they have COVID, ”Dr. Anthony Fauci, Senior Medical Advisor to the President, said CBSN last week.

Dr. Fauci: “This is a very impressive virus” 10:09

The CDC released initial results last month from a study of teenagers in Arizona through early December that estimated the first two shots of the vaccine were 92% effective in containing Delta variant infections. Data collected by the CDC showed that the number of cases in vaccinated children began to rise in November, although they still remained a fraction of the prevalence in unvaccinated children.

Health officials in the UK reported last month that children there appeared to be at lower risk of Omicron hospitalization than Delta, but warned that given the sheer number of fasting cases, the reduction “does not necessarily translate into a lower hospital burden” . -Spread variant.

“I think it will allow us to beat up another month or even a mole. But this is unsustainable and it is not wise to believe that we need to keep going to prevent infection or mildly symptomatic infections, ”Long said.

The decision on booster vaccinations now comes at an important time for local officials across the country Dealing with the return to face-to-face teaching in the new year. Some counties have announced plans to step up other measures, such as frequent student testing, in hopes of containing the spread of the virus in classrooms.

“I know we have had an Omicron surge, but I still believe very firmly and very passionately, not only as an educator but also as a parent, that our students belong in the classroom and that we can do so safely. We have better tools than in the past to do this. We know what works ”, Minister of Education Miguel Cardona said “Face the Nation” On Sunday.

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