Booster Shots for Older Teens Approved by CDC
(Update, effective May 6, 2022: Ochsner Health COVID-19 vaccination locations, including hospital, clinic and community sites, are halting administration of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine, effective Friday, May 6, 2022. Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations, which have full FDA approval, continue to be available to patients. Ochsner’s pause on the administration of J&J was made out of an abundance of caution following guidance from the FDA, which notes very rare but potentially serious side effects.)
The Centers for Disease Control is now urging teens ages 16 and 17 to receive the booster shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The recommendation came Dec. 9, 2021, hours after the Food and Drug Administration announced emergency use authorization of the Pfizer booster for this age group. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds who completed the initial Pfizer vaccine series at least six months ago are eligible to receive the booster.
This decision was made as Omicron, the most recent strain of COVID-19, spreads across the United States. The first case was reported in the United States on Dec. 1, 2021. Omicron has since spread to many states, including Louisiana.
Booster shots play a critical role in protecting people from contracting and spreading COVID-19, as well as decreasing the number of hospitalizations due to contracting COVID-19. This is due to the booster shot elevating the level of antibodies, which are proteins found in your blood that respond to and counteract infections, such as coronavirus. These antibodies assist in fighting off COVID-19 and its variants, including Delta and Omicron.
As the FDA noted in its approval of the booster shot for older teens, it’s important to continue preventative public health measures we’ve learned throughout the pandemic, especially as many families and friends gather for the holidays.
Parents may be wondering when their children under age 16 will be eligible for a booster. While scientists are still collecting information on booster shots for children under age 16, some experts believe that, eventually, booster shots will be available for younger kids.
Children ages 5-17 are eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Adults 18 years and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as well as booster shots. If you are an adult 18 years or older, you are eligible to receive your booster shot six months after your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
For more information on COVID-19 and children, please click here.
Jan. 3, 2022 update:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine on Jan. 3, 2022 to:
- Expand the use of a single booster dose to include use in individuals 12 through 15 years of age.
- Shorten the time between the completion of primary vaccination of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and a booster dose to at least five months.
- Allow for a third primary series dose for certain immunocompromised children 5 through 11 years of age.
The changes will need approval by the Centers for Disease Control before being implemented. In Louisiana, the state Department of Health will have to grant approval as well before the changes take effect.
For more information on vaccines and to find a vaccine site near you, please click here.