The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday that people are now able to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot five months after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, shortening the waiting period by one month for those ages 12 and up.
The interval recommendation for people who received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Janssen vaccine is two months and six months for those who got the Moderna vaccine.
Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized and recommended for that age group.
“Today’s recommendations ensure people are able to get a boost of protection in the face of omicron and increasing cases across the country, and ensure that the most vulnerable children can get an additional dose to optimize protection against COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet on Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST.
All of this comes after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use for children ages 12 to 15, shortened the period for booster shot eligibility to “at least five months,” and said it would allow a third primary series dose of the Pfizer vaccine for “certain immunocompromised children 5 through 11 years of age.”
“Peer-reviewed data from multiple laboratories indicate that a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine greatly improves an individual’s antibody response to be able to counter the omicron variant,” the FDA wrote. “Authorizing booster vaccination to take place at five months rather than six months may therefore provide better protection sooner for individuals against the highly transmissible omicron variant.”
Boosters are already recommended for everyone 16 years of age and older.
Pfizer is studying its vaccine in even smaller doses, for children younger than 5.
The Associated Press and Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.