Pfizer Seeking FDA Approval for COVID Boosters for Ages 16–17

Caitlyn Jendrejas, 15, receives her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine from pharmacist Shane Dixon at the Watson Pharmacy in Fordyce, Ark., August 12, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Pfizer and BioNTech are expected to request approval from the Food and Drug Administration to administer COVID-19 booster shots to Americans ages 16 and 17, multiple outlets reported on Monday.

While booster shots for all coronavirus vaccines are authorized for anyone ages 18 and up, the FDA has authorized only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Americans younger than 18. Pfizer and BioNTech will seek authorization for booster shots for 16- and 17-year-olds and they believe that regulators will approve the request quickly, according to the Washington Post.

The FDA authorized Pfizer and Moderna boosters for all adults in mid November. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its recommendations for booster shots on Monday, saying that adult Americans “should” get a booster, when the agency previously said adults at lesser risk of COVID-19 “may” get one.

The news comes amid the emergence of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, which the World Health Organization classified as a variant “of concern.” Health officials in the U.S. have cautioned that it will take several weeks of research to determine whether the variant can evade protection offered by vaccines.

“I don’t think it is likely that there will be no protection from these vaccines against Omicron, but we may see waning of it,” Paul Burton, the chief medical officer at Moderna, told NBC on Monday.

“If you talk to people in vaccine circles, people who are working on a vaccine, they have a pretty good degree of confidence that a boosted vaccine, so three full doses of vaccine, is going to be fairly protective against this new variant,” Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said on CBS on Sunday.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.