Teens 12 to 15 will soon be able to receive booster jabs of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine under new guidance expected to be announced by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) next week.
The move will broaden the eligibility for the third doses, which are currently only available to those 16 and older, according to the New York Times.
Adults and teens will also be allowed a Pfizer booster shot five months after their second dose instead of waiting six months, the outlet said.
In addition, young children ages 5 to 11 with immune deficiencies are also expected to be authorized for the third jabs under the agency’s new guidance.
The FDA reportedly is planning to announce the expanded eligibility Monday, after which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will meet by the middle of next week to vote on whether to recommend the changes.
A third dose of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine provides “significant protection” against the Omicron variant of COVID-19, according to the latest studies.
Meanwhile, the previous Delta strain is believed to still be behind many of the current COVID-19 hospitalizations after the CDC drastically reduced its estimate of Omicron cases in the US, saying the variant accounted for about 59 percent of COVID-19 infections as of Christmas Day — a significant drop from the 73 percent previously reported.
Still, the Omicron variant is proving to be ultra-transmissible, with the US shattering its record for new daily COVID-19 cases on Wednesday — tallying some 488,000 new infections, despite the majority of Americans being vaccinated.
The World Health Organisation has warned of a “tsunami of cases” worldwide because of the “twin threats” of the Omicron and Delta COVID variants.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has predicted the highly contagious COVID-19 Omicron variant will peak in the US by the end of January.