BY PETER D’AURIA, VTDIGGER
MONTPELIER — Children ages 12 to 15 could soon be eligible to receive a booster shot of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine after the federal Food and Drug Administration authorized the shots on Monday, Jan. 2.
That decision could open the door for thousands of Vermont children to receive a third shot of the vaccine, once the Centers for Disease Control issues its approval.
“The data shows there are no new safety concerns following a booster in this population,” the FDA said in a press release.
The FDA made the decision to expand its emergency use authorization after reviewing data from studies in Israel. On Wednesday, the CDC is expected to consider signing off on the new rules.
Federal officials authorized the Pfizer shot for children aged 12 to 15 in May. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are not currently approved for children.
About 75% of Vermont children ages 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated with Pfizer shots, and 82% have received at least one dose, according to state data.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott hailed the announcement, saying that the expanded booster shot eligibility “will have an important impact and reduce disruptions.”
“I have directed the Agency of Human Services to operationalize this change in the State’s vaccine registration system as soon as final approval from CDC is granted, and we will have more details soon,” Scott said.
The FDA also approved several other new changes to vaccine guidelines Monday.
Per the changes, people fully vaccinated with the Pfizer shot would only have to wait five months before a booster instead of six.
And the agency endorsed third “primary series” shots — not boosters — for severely immunocompromised children between ages 5 and 11.