F.D.A. Authorizes Pfizer Boosters for 16- and 17-Yr-Olds

In accordance with federal knowledge, about 5.5 million 16- and 17-year-olds — two-thirds of that age group — have acquired at the very least one dose of Pfizer’s vaccine. Greater than 4.7 million have acquired two doses. Roughly three million acquired their second shot at the very least six months in the past and could be eligible for a 3rd shot this month.

The World Well being Group on Thursday once more expressed concern that aggressive booster campaigns in wealthier international locations might additional exacerbate international disparities in entry to vaccines.

“If we regarded on the knowledge at the moment, even earlier than Omicron, we’re seeing high-income international locations administering extra booster doses than even vaccines which might be being given in creating international locations,” Richard Mihigo, the coordinator for the World Well being Group’s vaccine program in Africa, stated at a information convention.

Biden administration officers argue that boosters photographs don’t restrict donations. In accordance with the White Home, america has pledged 1.2 billion doses to international locations in want — greater than all different international locations mixed. By roughly three months from now, almost half a billion doses may have been delivered, officers stated. Some African international locations have requested that shipments be held up as a result of they’ve extra provide than they will handle.

Federal well being officers say that as a result of Omicron accommodates dozens of mutations by no means seen earlier than, it’s all the extra vital that everybody eligible for a booster will get one.

Requested whether or not a fourth shot could be mandatory, Jen Psaki, the White Home press secretary, stated on Thursday that the federal government’s well being and medical consultants would proceed to evaluate the scenario.

The F.D.A.’s newest booster authorization follows preliminary outcomes that Pfizer and BioNTech reported on Wednesday exhibiting that assessments of blood from individuals who had acquired two doses of the businesses’ vaccine contained a lot decrease ranges of antibodies in opposition to Omicron than in opposition to an earlier model of the virus. Antibodies are the immune system’s first line of protection in opposition to the virus, and the outcomes recommend that two doses will not be adequate to guard in opposition to an infection, the businesses stated.

With a booster, the extent of antibodies working to neutralize the Omicron variant was similar to that combating the unique variant after two doses, the businesses stated. Antibodies are only one measure of the immune system’s defenses. Virus-attacking cells spurred by an preliminary two doses are nonetheless anticipated to supply substantial safety in opposition to extreme instances of Covid-19.

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