The US Food and Drug Administration approved booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech for people aged 16 and 17 after public health officials recommended Americans receive the additional shots due to worries about the virus's new Omicron variant.
The emergency use authorization (EUA) will allow 16- and 17-year-olds to receive their third vaccine dosage at least six months after receiving their second.
Before the youngsters can start receiving the shots, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will most likely need to approve off on them. Around 4.7 million 16- and 17-year-olds in the United States are completely vaccinated, with more than 2.5 million having received their second shot more than six months ago.
Because of the increased risk of rare episodes of heart inflammation in young men connected to messenger RNA vaccines like the Pfizer/BioNTech injection, several experts are concerned about additional vaccinations for the age group.
Booster doses of the three COVID-19 vaccinations are currently available to all adults in the United States.
The FDA's approval comes just a day after Pfizer and BioNTech presented research suggesting that booster doses could be crucial in preventing infection from the newly discovered Omicron coronavirus type.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found less than 100 instances of Omicron in the United States, but this number is projected to rise in the next weeks and months.
Meanwhile, infections have increased due to the prevalent Delta variant, which is highly transmissible and can be transmitted to and by the fully vaccinated. The Northeast, where activities have shifted indoors for the winter, has experienced some of the largest spikes in new cases, which currently average around 120,000 per day.