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FDA authorizes boosters for ages 16 and 17 ahead of holidays, omicron

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Noam Galai)

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use as a single booster dose in teens ages 16 and 17.

The authorization stands to expand access to boosters amid a crushing wave of delta transmission, fears over the looming omicron variant, and the approach of end-of-year holiday gatherings. Currently, boosters are open and recommended for all adults ages 18 and up.

Earlier this week, a crop of preliminary data suggested that boosters will likely be necessary to protect against the omicron variant, which appears to dodge protective immune defenses from both vaccination and prior infection. Previously, data indicated that vaccine effectiveness wanes against delta and previous variants after six months.

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