US advisers endorse Pfizer COVID boosters for younger teens

National

(AP) — Influential government advisers are strongly urging that teens as young as 12 get COVID-19 boosters as soon as they’re eligible, a key move as the U.S. battles the omicron surge and schools struggle with how to restart classes amid the spike.

All Americans 16 and older are encouraged to get a booster, which health authorities say offers the best chance at avoiding the highly contagious omicron variant.

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration authorized an extra Pfizer shot for kids ages 12 to 15 as well — but that wasn’t the final hurdle.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes recommendations for vaccinations and on Wednesday, its advisers voted that a booster was safe for the younger teens and should be offered to them once enough time — five months — has passed since their last shot.

And while the CDC last month opened boosters as an option for 16 and 17-year-olds, the panel said that recommendation should be strengthened to say they “should” get the extra dose.

The CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, will weigh the panel’s advice before making a final decision soon.

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