Pfizer Covid Booster for Young Teens Heads for CDC Panel’s Vote
(Bloomberg) -- Immunization experts who advise the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet Wednesday to discuss the use of Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 booster shot for young teens.
As the omicron variant continues to drive a surge in Covid infections across the country, expanding access to boosters for teens ages 12 to 15 could help officials keep schools open. The CDC panel will vote on a recommendation for the Pfizer-BioNTech shot for the age group.
U.S. regulators gave emergency authorization Monday for a third dose of the messenger RNA vaccine for young teens. Research shows that the standard two-dose regimen loses its effectiveness against highly transmissible omicron, and the booster restores high levels of protection against hospitalization and death.
Some research suggests that, on average, omicron causes milder illness than other variants of the coronavirus, although the sheer numbers of patients infected continue to burden hospitals. The extra shot has already been cleared for use in adults and older teens, although uptake remains relatively low at about 38% of the fully vaccinated adult population, according to the CDC.
The virtual meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and will be streamed online.
Here’s what to expect:
- The CDC will detail data concerning the safety of the vaccine, which is likely to include information on adverse events including the heart ailment myocarditis.
- Later in the afternoon, the focus will be on clinical considerations, when the group will discuss trial evidence, side effects and other issues.
- Near the end of the session the panel is expected to vote on recommendations. Voting language hasn’t yet been made public.
After the vote, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will decide whether to sign off on the panel’s recommendation. Then doctors, drugstores and other sites could begin giving shots.
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