Booster vaccine approved for 16- and 17-year-olds

Junior+Helena+Cohen+celebrates+after+receiving+++her+first+dose+of+the+Pfizer-BioNTech+vaccine.+Cohen+plans+to+get+the+booster+now+that+she+is+eligible.

Roxanne Cohen

Junior Helena Cohen celebrates after receiving her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Cohen plans to get the booster now that she is eligible.

As the semester comes to a close, many Carlmont students can head into the holiday season with an extra piece of protection against COVID-19. The Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot was authorized for 16- and 17-year-olds early on Thursday, Dec. 9, making many Calmont students eligible for the shot.

“I can’t wait to get my booster shot so that I can feel safe doing things with more people,” said 17-year-old senior Erin Luna.

On Nov. 19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended emergency use authorizations for both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for all adults ages 18 and up. This served as a progression to the previous approval, which allowed only people 65 and older as well as adults ages 18-64 with medical conditions or working in settings with a high risk of COVID-19 contraction to receive booster shots.

Now that this has been altered again for 16-and-17-year-olds, questions arise about when it will be time for younger ages to receive more doses. Children 5 to 11 are not yet eligible for a booster shot, and those below 5 are not yet eligible for any doses. The Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines remain unauthorized for people below the age of 18.

The booster, which can be delivered six months after the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for anyone who is eligible.

This booster shot has been long-awaited due to the new omicron variant. The variant, which has already made its way into 19 states, is causing plenty of questions and concerns. According to a study by Hiroshi Nishiura, a professor of health and environmental sciences at Kyoto University in Japan, in its early stage, the omicron variant is 4.2 times more transmissible than the well-known delta variant

Pfizer and BioNTech came out with a statement Wednesday that said, “Preliminary laboratory studies demonstrate that three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine neutralize the Omicron variant.”