TUESDAY, Jan. 4, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday backed the emergency use approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot for high-risk children between the ages of 5 and 11 years, along with shortening the time period between a second dose and a booster shot from six months to five months.

Both approvals came from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday, while a third approval authorizing booster shots for those ages 12 to 15 years will be taken up by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday.

“As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to update our recommendations to ensure the best possible protection for the American people,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., said in an agency statement. “Following the FDA’s authorizations, today’s recommendations ensure people are able to get a boost of protection in the face of omicron and increasing cases across the country, and ensure that the most vulnerable children can get an additional dose to optimize protection against COVID-19. Additionally, FDA took action this week to authorize boosters for 12- to 15-year-olds — and I look forward to [the] ACIP meeting on Wednesday to discuss this issue.”

If the committee approves that authorization, it would be followed by what is expected to be a quick endorsement from Walensky.

Pfizer boosters had been authorized for people ages 16 years and older. The two other COVID-19 vaccines, from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are only authorized for adults 18 years and older. About 70 percent of Americans ages 12 years and older are now fully vaccinated, according to the CDC, but about 1.8 million adolescents in the 12- to 15-year-old demographic have already tested positive for the virus.

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