FDA Authorizes Booster Shot for ages 16-17

Ava Garcia, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Pfizer asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize the booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine for teens ages 16 and 17. Quickly after on Thursday, December 9th, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot for these ages. 

Since the appearance of the new variant, Omicron, the Biden administration has been facing immense pressure to take action. The recent decision FDA made to authorize the booster was in direct relation to tests done that suggest the new variant Omicron decreases the effectiveness of the two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.  

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone who has access to the booster get the additional shot either six months after the initial Pfizer or Moderna shots or two months after the initial Johnson & Johnson shot. NPR showed research released by Pfizer and BioNTech in October that found that in a study of 10,000 people ages 16 and older, a booster dose helped restore protection against COVID-19 to levels seen after the second dose. 

Due to the fact that the FDA fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech for individuals 16 and older in August, teens of those ages are currently eligible for the booster.

The companies have found that the booster dose significantly increased protection to nearly the same level as the two-dose vaccine provided against the earlier strains of the virus. The FDA continues to emphasize the importance of getting the booster, as it is the best way to minimize the current spread of COVID-19. 

More than 40 million individuals, 18 and older, have gotten the extra shot since it was approved by the FDA for select groups of people in September. The new Omicron variant was recently detected in 17 U.S. states, highlighting the urgency of getting the booster shot.