As part of a broader effort to expand protection against the COVID-19 virus, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized booster shots on Jan. 3, 2022 for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12 to 15. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) signed off on the decision two days later saying it now recommends that adolescents aged 12-17 should receive a booster shot after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series.
“It is critical that we protect our children and teens from COVID-19 infection and the complications of severe disease,” CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky said after the agency endorsed the recommendation of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Dr. Walensky noted that this booster dose will provide optimized protection against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.
In updating its recommendations this week, the CDC also has backed the FDA’s decision to shorten the interval to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster from six months to five months. The booster interval recommendation has not changed for people who received the Moderna vaccine which remains at six months and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine interval at two months.
The CDC also adopted an FDA recommendation concerning a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised children ages five to 11 who may not mount an adequate response to the initial vaccine series. Consistent with its recommendation for adults, the CDC recommended that moderately or severely immunocompromised five to 11-year old children receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second shot.
ACPS continues to partner closely with the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) and adhere to our 2021-22 health and safety mitigation measures. We remind families to please complete the Daily Symptoms Checklist and have their students wear masks that cover the nose and mouth in all ACPS facilities and school buses. We encourage families to register their students for free on-site weekly COVID-19 testing offered at each school; this is available to staff as well.