[Photo: The New York Times]
U.S. regulators have expanded the eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for teenagers aged 16 and 17 years.
This follows concerns over the Covid-19 Omicron variant of the virus.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it amended its emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to allow the youths to receive a third shot at least six months after their second dose.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also signed off on the shots.
“Although we don’t have all the answers on the Omicron variant, initial data suggests that COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen the protection against Omicron and other variants,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
Around 4.7 million U.S. youths in that age group are fully vaccinated and more than 2.5 million of them are six months past their second dose.
Only the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been authorized for use in the age group, even as all U.S. adults are currently eligible for booster shots of the three authorized COVID-19 vaccines.
CDC’s and FDA’s emergency authorization comes after Pfizer-BioNTech released initial lab data indicating that booster shots provide high levels of protection against the highly mutated omicron variant.
The data found that omicron significantly reduces the protection provided by the initial two-dose series.
A newsmaker, reporter and anchor at Pearl Radio, Ndalilah Sharon is witty and savvy.
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