CDC urges teens ages 16-17 to get booster shot following FDA authorization

In response to the spread of the Omicron variant, federal authorities are offering booster shots to 16 and 17-year-olds.

Hours after the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday authorized the extra doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents in that age group, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that those teens get the added protection as soon as they’re six months past their initial shots.

“Today, CDC is strengthening its booster recommendations and encouraging everyone 16 and older to receive a booster shot,” the agency’s website says. “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.”

The third dose is identical to the other two. Booster doses are already encouraged for people over 18 who had their previous Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines at least six months earlier, or the Johnson & Johnson shot at least two months prior. The U.S. government has pre-purchased enough doses to provide boosters free of charge to anyone who qualifies.

“The booster vaccination increases the level of immunity and dramatically improves protection against COVID-19 in all age groups studied so far,” Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, said in a statement. “It is important to offer everyone a booster, particularly against the background of the newly emerging variants such as Omicron.”

The government continues to urge anyone who is eligible for a booster shot to get one.

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