On Thursday, January 5th, 2022, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) authorized the administration of the Pfizer booster dose for ages 12 to 15. Doses to boost the immune system for children ages 5 to 11 are also out if someone in that specific age group is moderately or severely immunocompromised. In this case, however, the shots are called third doses instead of booster doses. This authorization was decided on after the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)’s decision, announced on December 31, 2021, which was to make the booster dose available to a broader age group.
As of January 13, 2022, there were 9,452,491 Covid-19 child cases recorded. 20% of all weekly cases reported came from children, but fortunately, only 0.1%-1.8% of these cases ended up in the hospital. This information prompted the CDC, ACIP, and FDA to release a booster dose for a lower age range.
At this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 booster is authorized. It is recommended that people who have received the Pfizer series for their Covid-19 vaccination should get the booster shot five months later instead of waiting six months for it. For 5 to 11-year-old immunocompromised persons, it is recommended by the CDC to wait 28 days after the second shot. These two groups can only receive the booster dose if the previous vaccines administered were Pfizer-BioNTech. However, there is a stark difference between the two groups. Children ages 12 to 15 can get the booster dose after receiving both the first and second doses of the vaccine, regardless of the fact that they are immunocompromised or not. Likewise, children ages 5 to 11 must be immunocompromised to receive the booster dose. If one is immunocompromised, it means that they are at a greater risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus and any other strains due to either exposure or disease already had.
The ACIP proves these booster shots to help strengthen the immune system against all Covid-19 strains, including the Omicron variant. This data was tested and taken from over 25 million adolescent volunteers. After receiving the booster dose, some side effects include pain, swelling, redness at the injection site, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, fever, nausea, and chills. There is also a chance of serious side effects occurring, such as Anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, and Myocarditis and Pericarditis, the former being inflammation of the heart’s muscle and the latter being inflammation of the heart’s outer lining. Fortunately, these chances are quite rare.
As always, it is encouraged to contact a doctor, or any other medical personnel, if questions about the Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose are present. Any other concerns about the shot should go to one’s doctor as well.