Jan 4, 2022 - Health

CDC shortens Pfizer booster wait time to 5 months after vaccine

Picture the hands of a health care professional vaccinating someone's arm
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday updated its COVID-19 vaccine guidance, recommending that those who received the Pfizer shot get a booster five months after getting their second shot instead of six.

Driving the news: The move comes a day after the Food and Drug Administration expanded vaccine booster eligibility, allowing 12- to 15-year-olds to receive a third shot. The FDA also shortened the amount of time people must wait between receiving a second shot and booster from six to five months.

State of play: The agency said that the booster interval recommendation for people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the Moderna vaccine has not changed and remains at two and six months, respectively.

  • The CDC is also advising that immunocompromised children between the ages of 5 and 11 receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second shot.

What they're saying: "As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to update our recommendations to ensure the best possible protection for the American people," said CDC director Rochelle Walensky.

  • "Following the FDA’s authorizations, today’s recommendations ensure people are able to get a boost of protection in the face of Omicron and increasing cases across the country, and ensure that the most vulnerable children can get an additional dose to optimize protection against COVID-19."

By the numbers: While 62% of the total U.S. population is fully vaccinated, only 33.4% has received a booster shot, according to CDC data.

What's next: The CDC's vaccine advisory committee is set to meet on Wednesday to decide whether to endorse the FDA's decision to let 12- to 15-year-olds get booster shots, Walensky said.

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