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FDA set to approve Pfizer COVID-19 booster for children as young as 12

The agency is expected to give its OK on Monday, according to The New York Times.

vaccine-approval-children-5-to-11-years-old-fda-emergency-use-authorization-2021-cnet-001
Children as young as 12 may soon be eligible for a booster shot. 
Sarah Tew/CNET
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday is expected to green-light giving Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine booster to children as young as 12, according to The New York Times.

The FDA will endorse giving healthy 12- to 15-year-olds a third dose to bolster their vaccine immunity, the Times reported, citing "people familiar with the agency's deliberations."

The agency is also expected to allow children ages 5 to 11 with immune deficiencies to receive the booster, and the FDA will also trim the amount of wait time for a booster, from six months to five, for adolescents and adults, according to the Times.

After the FDA gives its OK, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine advisory committee will meet to vote on the recommendations — a meeting that the Times said will happen by the middle of next week. If the committee backs the plan to lower the booster eligibility age, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky is expected to then endorse the change.

Although children as young as 5 can currently receive Pfizer's two-dose regimen, only teens 16 and up are eligible to receive a booster.

The news comes as the more contagious omicron variant is sweeping the globe. It's the dominant strain of COVID in the US, responsible for nearly three-fifths (58.6%) of all new infections, according to the CDC.

The FDA had hoped to make an announcement this week, the Times reported, but Walensky wanted the CDC's advisory group to have time to weigh in — especially given the young age of the demographic involved.  

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.