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CDC Backs Pfizer Boosters for 12-15 year olds Amid Omicron Surge – NBC10 Philadelphia

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  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given Pfizer boosters to children 12 to 15 years old.
  • The recommendation comes amid an increase in hospitalizations due to omicron infections across the US

Children aged 12 to 15 are currently eligible to participate Pfizer and BioNTechCovid’s booster shots give them an extra dose of protection as they return to school amid an unprecedented rise in infections across the US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday recommended a booster shot for adolescents at least five months after the second dose.

“It’s critical that we protect our children and young people from contracting COVID-19 and the complications of severe illness,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement Wednesday night. “This enhanced dose will provide optimal protection against COVID-19 and variant Omicron.”

Earlier, on Wednesday, an independent committee of CDC vaccine experts voted in favor of lowering the age of eligibility for the booster drug Pfizer for children 12 to 15 years old. CDC has previously booster boosters for 16 and 17 year olds in December.

The number of hospitalized children infected with Covid is on the rise in the United States as the highly contagious omicron variant fuels a wave of infections in the broader population. Many studies have shown that booster shots significantly increase protection from infection and serious illness.

Dr Grace Lee, chair of the committee of vaccine experts, said the pandemic has burdened an entire generation of children whose mental and emotional health has been affected as a result of school closures. and distant from friends of the same age.

Lee said vaccinations are important to prevent transmission of the virus and keep schools and the wider community open so children can thrive. She said the impact of infection on children’s long-term health is still unclear.

“I also really believe that we still haven’t addressed the long-term impact of Covid infections in children,” Lee said. “I think we haven’t even scratched the surface of what we’re going to see.”

There were about 3,800 children hospitalized with Covid as of Wednesday, according to seven-day average of data from the Department of Health and Human Services, up 64% over the past week and the highest since HHS began tracking track data in the summer. of 2020.

Dr Sara Oliver, a CDC official, told the committee that hospital admissions among adolescents 12 to 15 years of age remained relatively stable, although she noted that her data was only as of May 10. 12 and may not reflect new infections from omicrons.

Oliver said the effectiveness of boosters in children 12 to 15 years old is unknown, but the third shots are likely to increase protection. A recent study by the UK Health Security Agency found boosters were up to 75% effective in preventing symptomatic infections. However, the original Pfizer vaccine was only about 10% effective at preventing symptomatic infections 20 weeks after the second dose, according to the study.

Dr Keipp Talbot, the only committee member to vote against the decision, said she supported the boosters but believes that vaccinating all eligible children with the first two doses should be a priority. first than the third.

“I don’t think it’s unfair that 12 to 17-year-olds who have been vaccinated are at risk of having myocarditis come back for an unspecified benefit because their colleagues won’t,” Talbot said. vaccinated,” Talbot said.

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday authorized Pfizer booster injections for children ages 12 to 15 on Monday. Peter Marks, director of the FDA team responsible for vaccine safety, told the CDC panel that the rapid spread of omicrons prompted the agency to act quickly on boosters for adolescents. .

Marks said the FDA had not identified any new safety concerns after evaluating factual data from Israel on more than 6,000 children ages 12 to 15 who were injected with the Pfizer booster. Among those children, there were no new cases of myocarditis or pericarditis, rare side effects when the heart becomes inflamed or swollen.

Dr Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health services in Israel, told the commission that there were two cases of myocarditis in the 12 to 15 age group after injecting more than 40,000 booster doses.

Myocarditis occurs most commonly after the second dose of Pfizer in children 12 to 15 years of age. The CDC’s vaccine safety team detected a total of 265 cases in adolescents 12 to 15 years who received two doses of Pfizer through December 19, 2021. The majority of cases, 221, occurred after the dose. second and 90% of patients are boys.

Myocarditis resulted in 251 hospitalizations, but 96% of patients were discharged home. This condition remains rare with 45 reported cases per 1 million second doses administered in boys aged 12 to 15 years, and 3.8 cases per million second doses in girls during the same period. age group.

About 47,000 adolescents ages 16 to 17 have received a booster dose of Pfizer in the US, the next age group eligible for booster use, and 95 percent of reported side effects were not serious, according to the study. CDC.

Dr. Evelyn Twentyman, a CDC official, told the committee that vaccinations in Israel – where the country has launched a major booster campaign – showed myocarditis in people 16 years of age and older even even more rarely after booster injections.

Dr. Julie Bloom, director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Immunization Project, told the committee that booster vaccination recommendations for children 12 years of age and older “can’t go into effect anytime soon.”

Bloom said children 12 years of age and older who received the Pfizer vaccine have started to lose immunity against Covid since they received the first two doses, putting them at higher risk of omicrons.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, at least 7.8 million children have contracted Covid since the pandemic began. More than 1,000 children have died from the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We must do everything in our power to minimize any adverse effects on the mental, physical and educational health of our children,” Bloom said.

The White House’s chief medical adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci, at a news conference on Wednesday, said omicrons appear to be less severe for children than plains, but he cautioned against self-indulgence. satisfied, urges parents to get their children vaccinated and boosted when eligible.

– CNBC’s Nate Rattner, Dawn Kopecki and Lauren Feiner contributed to this report

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/business/money-report/cdc-panel-recommends-pfizer-boosters-for-12-to-15-year-olds-amid-omicron-surge/3098167/ CDC Backs Pfizer Boosters for 12-15 year olds Amid Omicron Surge – NBC10 Philadelphia

Aila Slisco

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