CDC Approves Use of Pfizer COVID Boosters for Ages 12-15

dWeb.News Article from Daniel Webster dWeb.News

This story was updated at 9: 32 a.m. Jan. 6, 2022.

Jan. 5, 2022 – CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, late Wednesday endorsed an advisory panel’s recommendation that 12- to 17-year-olds in the United States should get the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot at least 5 months after a primary series of vaccinations.

Just a few hours earlier the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 13-1 in favor of the recommendation.

The CDC had already said 16- and 17-year-olds “may” receive a Pfizer booster but today’s recommendation adds the 12-15 group and strengthens the “may” to “should” for 16- and 17-year-olds.

The vote comes after the FDA on Monday authorized the Pfizer vaccine booster dose for 12- to 15-year-olds. The FDA action updated the authorization of the Pfizer vaccine. It also reduced the time between the booster and second dose to five months from six months. A third primary series dose is also now authorized for certain immunocompromised children between 5 and 11 years old. The FDA news release contains all details.

The CDC on Tuesday also backed the shortened time frame and a third primary series dose for some immunocompromised children 5 to 11 years old. But the CDC delayed a decision on a booster for 12- to 15-year-olds until it heard from its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices today.

The decision came as school districts nationwide are wrestling with decisions of whether to keep schools open or revert to a virtual format as cases surge, and as pediatric COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations reach new highs. Helen Keipp Talbot MD, an associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, was the only one to vote against.

She stated after the vote that she was fine with boosters for children. I am not against boosters. I just really want the U.S. to move forward with all kids.”

Talbot said earlier in the comment period, “If we divert our public health from the unvaccinated to the vaccinated, we are not going to make a big impact. Boosters are incredibly important but they won’t solve this problem of the crowded hospitals.”

She said vaccinating the unvaccinated must be the priority.

” If you’re a parent who is unsure if your child has been vaccinated, please speak to a healthcare provider.” she stated.

Among the 13 supporters of the recommendation was Oliver Brooks, MD, chief medical officer of Watts HealthCare Corporation in Los Angeles.

Brooks stated that boosting the population is another tool in his toolbox.

” “If it’s not a hammer we should hit the nail hard,” he stated.

Sara Oliver, MD, ACIP’s lead for the COVID-19 work group, presented the case behind the recommendation.

She pointed out the high number of Omicron cases.

“As of Jan. 3, the 7-day average had reached an all-time high of nearly 500,000 cases,” Oliver noted. She stated that since this summer, the incidence of COVID has been higher in adolescents than it is for adults.

“The majority of COVID cases continue to occur among the unvaccinated,” she said, “with unvaccinated 12- to 17-year-olds having a 7-times-higher risk of testing positive for SARS-Cov-2 compared to vaccinated 12- to 17-year-olds. Unvaccinated 12- to 17-year-olds have around 11 times higher risk of hospitalization than vaccinated 12- to 17-year-olds.”

“Vaccine effectiveness in adolescents 12- to 15-years-old remains high,” Oliver said, but evidence shows, there may be “some waning over time.”

Discussion of risk centered on myocarditis.

Oliver said myocarditis rates reported after the Pfizer vaccine in Israel across all populations as of Dec. 15 show that “the rates of myocarditis after a third dose are lower than what is seen after the second dose.”

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