In Light of Omicron Variant, US FDA Allows COVID-19 Boosters for 16-17 Year-Olds

The decision came 1 day after Pfizer and BioNTech suggested that boosters could protect against the Omicron variant.

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One day after Pfizer and BioNTech suggested that booster shots could protect against the Omicron variant, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that 16 and 17-year-olds will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine boosters, Reuters reported.

The decision comes in the backdrop of the Omicron variant spreading across the US, making an appearance in at least 19 states (albeit less than 100 cases in total).

Public health officials have urged US citizens to get a third shot of the vaccine.

The FDA amended its emergency use authorisation of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE's vaccine to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to get jabbed for a third time.

This shot, however, must be taken at least six months after their second dose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also approved of the decision.


CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, while strongly encouraging youngsters to get the third dose, stated that "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 Reuters report added.

Scientists have expressed some worries about the risk of heart inflammation in young men due to the Pfizer/BioNTech shot.

With respect to the Omicron variant, while the general opinion on vaccine efficacy remains divided, experts agree that the variant seems to be more transmissible but less deadly.

Anthony Fauci, who is the top medical advisor to the US president, has also assured that Omicron "almost certainly is not more severe than Delta".

(With inputs from Reuters)

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