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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine booster for 16 and 17-year-old teens on Dec. 9. With support from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pfizer/BioNTech booster is the first available to teens in that age range.

“Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, authorizing the use of a single booster dose for administration to individuals 16 and 17 years of age at least six months after completion of primary vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine,” the FDA’s official statement reads.

The news comes less than a month after the Omicron variant, a mutation of the COVID-19 virus, was reported to the World Health organization and classified as a Variant of Concern.

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In a statement, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky spoke on behalf of the organization and said, “Today, CDC is strengthening its booster recommendations and encouraging everyone 16 and older to receive a booster shot.”

“Although we don’t have all the answers on the Omicron variant, initial data suggests that COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen the protection against Omicron and other variants,” Dr. Walensky noted. “We know that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and 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.” PEOPLE reported. 

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In addition, Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., the Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, highlighted, “The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has been available to individuals 16 years of age and older for nearly a year, and its benefits have been shown to clearly outweigh potential risks.”

“Since we first authorized the vaccine, new evidence indicates that vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 is waning after the second dose of the vaccine for all adults and for those in the 16- and 17-year-old age group,” Marks added. “A single booster dose of the vaccine for those vaccinated at least six months prior will help provide continued protection against COVID-19 in this and older age groups.”

Read more information about how the booster can protect your child from COVID and its variants here.

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