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FDA authorizes Pfizer boosters for teens

People in Worcester, Mass., visit a mobile vaccination clinic to receive Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots on Dec. 3. Associated Press/Photo by Steven Senne

FDA authorizes Pfizer boosters for teens

About 2.6 million U.S. 16- and 17-year-olds could soon be eligible to receive a third COVID-19 vaccine dose six months after their last shot. While adults are allowed to mix and match boosters from different manufacturers, teenagers will only able to receive Pfizer’s vaccine, for now. Regulators now await a formal recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is expected soon.

Is this necessary? Scientists disagree about whether young people need boosters to maintain immunity against the coronavirus. Pfizer’s data indicates it is effective against the delta variant and restores antibodies when they wane after six months, but it is not clear whether the new omicron variant can evade current vaccines. The Food and Drug Administration did not convene its outside advisory panel, which previously raised concerns about Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccine causing myocarditis, a rare heart inflammation. In authorizing the booster shots for teens, the FDA said severe COVID-19 infection can also cause serious heart problems, and the benefits of boosters outweigh the risks of the side effect. A new U.S. study published this week found that myocarditis from vaccines in children is usually mild and temporary.

Dig deeper: Listen to Caleb Bailey on The World and Everything in It podcast report on how parents are deciding whether to vaccinate their children.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a WORLD reporter and a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College. She resides in Washington, D.C.


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