Pfizer authorizes booster dose for 16, 17-year-olds


Provided by Kris Estrada

Kris Estrada (11) poses with a cutout of Dr. Anthony Fauci after receiving his Pfizer booster dose on Friday, Dec. 10, at the Valley Specialty Center in the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Pfizer authorized a single booster dose for 16 and 17-year olds on Thursday, Dec. 9.

by Sabrina Zhu and Alysa Suleiman

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster vaccine for administration to 16 and 17-year-olds on Thursday, Dec. 9. 

“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 six months post their initial Pfizer vaccination series,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a media statement.

The Pfizer booster shot was approved for individuals aged 18 and older on Nov. 19. The booster can strengthen the immune system against the coronavirus since the efficacy of the original doses of the vaccines fades over time. The additional protection not only decreases the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, but it also defends against multiple strains of the disease, including the delta and omicron variants. So far, there are no known major side effects of receiving the booster dose.

53.94 million booster shots have been administered in the United States as of Dec. 10, including the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) doses. The Pfizer booster was first approved for the elderly and immunocompromised on Sept. 22, while the Moderna and J&J booster was approved on Oct. 20.

16-year-old Sydney Adler (11) received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on March 22 and her second dose three weeks after in April. Immediately after hearing that Pfizer authorized the booster for 16 and 17-year olds, she and her parents scheduled her booster shot appointment, which will occur on Dec. 22. 

“Teenagers, they’re in school, they hang out,” Sydney said. “I have gotten more nervous hanging out with my friends recently, but if we’re getting vaccinated, I’ll know that the county levels are going to go down, and I’ll just feel safer at school.”