In the United States, the CDC's advisory panel recommended allowing the Pfizer booster vaccine for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15.
Voted 13 to 1 for the health agency to support booster doses for this age group at least five months after their second application.
A panel of outside experts advising the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) voted Wednesday to recommend a booster dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for young people from 12 to 15 years. The only thing that remains is the authorization of the CDC (which is expected quickly), which will allow the reinforcements to begin to be applied this week throughout the country.
The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 13 to 1 to recommend that the US Health Agency provide booster shots for people aged 12 to 15 at least five months after their second dose. Support
The panel also said the CDC should strengthen its recommendation for 16- and 17-year-old boosters. The agency had already made the vaccine available to these young people. Still, it stopped suggesting that everyone should get the extra dose.
COVID-19 cases in the United States have reached record levels in recent days due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the virus. In addition, infection rates are increasing as many workers and school-age children return from vacation, raising the possibility of overwhelmed health systems, as well as closed businesses and schools.
"COVID is overwhelming our hospitals and our children's hospitals," said Dr. Katherine Poehling, panel member and professor at Wake Forest School of Medicine. " This is a tool that we must use and help our children overcome this pandemic."
Data from the Israeli Ministry of Health presented at the meeting suggested that vaccinated children aged 12 to 15 years who had passed five to six months after their second dose were infected at the same rate as children not immunized by the Omicron variant of the virus. According to the data, the infection rate dropped dramatically after receiving a booster shot.
Dr. Peter Marks, one of the top regulators for the US Food and Drug Administration, said it is reasonable to extend boosters to 12-15-year-olds, given the current increase in cases.
The FDA authorized the additional doses for the age group on Monday. Still, the CDC must sign before the injections can be given. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expected to intervene quickly, allowing reinforcements to begin as early as this week.
Some scientists have raised concerns about booster shots due to rare heart inflammation cases called myocarditis linked to the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, particularly in young men.
While there is limited data on myocarditis after booster doses for ages 12 to 15, the FDA has said that evidence from both the United States and Israel indicates that the risk of myocarditis in men ages 18 to 40 years is significantly shorter after the booster doses than after the second dose of the vaccine.
Only two cases of myocarditis were reported in Israel among 44,000 adolescents aged 12 to 15 who received a third dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, the Israeli Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.