The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reportedly set to authorize COVID-19 booster shots for those between the ages of 12 and 15.
The FDA will expand eligibility for Pfizer booster doses to this age group on Monday, The New York Times reported, citing sources familiar with the agency's planning. This would reportedly be followed by a meeting of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee in the middle of the week to decide whether to recommend the authorization. CNN also reported the FDA will make this move "in the coming days."
Additionally, the Times reports that regulators "plan to allow both adolescents and adults to seek an extra shot of Pfizer's vaccine five months after receiving a second dose," down from six months, and will also authorize boosters for kids between 5 and 11 who have immune deficiencies. This will come as the United States grapples with new daily records for the number of COVID-19 cases amid the spread of the contagious Omicron variant. The FDA expanded Pfizer booster dose eligibility to 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds earlier this month.
"I strongly encourage adolescents ages 16 and 17 to get their booster if they are at least 6 months post their initial Pfizer vaccination series," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at the time.
Walensky previously told CNN this week that the FDA was looking at expanding booster eligibility to those between 12 and 15. "The FDA is looking at that right now," she said. "Of course, the CDC will swiftly follow as soon as we hear from them, and I'm hoping to have that in the days to weeks ahead."
The CDC director also told CNN that "companies and manufacturers are working towards data" on vaccines for children under five but that this will "not be in the month ahead."