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

According to federal knowledge, about 5.5 million 16- and 17-year-olds — two-thirds of that age group — have obtained no less than one dose of Pfizer’s vaccine. More than 4.7 million have obtained two doses. Roughly three million received their second shot no less than six months in the past and can be eligible for a 3rd shot this month.

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

“If we looked at the data today, even before Omicron, we are seeing high-income countries administering more booster doses than even vaccines that are being given in developing countries,” Richard Mihigo, the coordinator for the World Health Organization’s vaccine program in Africa, mentioned at a information convention.

Biden administration officers argue that boosters pictures don’t restrict donations. According to the White House, the United States has pledged 1.2 billion doses to international locations in want — greater than all different international locations mixed. By roughly three months from now, practically half a billion doses can have been delivered, officers mentioned. Some African international locations have requested that shipments be held up as a result of they’ve extra provide than they’ll 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.

Asked whether or not a fourth shot may be essential, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, mentioned on Thursday that the federal government’s well being and medical specialists would proceed to evaluate the state of affairs.

The F.D.A.’s newest booster authorization follows preliminary outcomes that Pfizer and BioNTech reported on Wednesday displaying that assessments of blood from individuals who had obtained 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 counsel that two doses might not be enough to guard in opposition to an infection, the businesses mentioned.

With a booster, the extent of antibodies working to neutralize the Omicron variant was akin to that combating the unique variant after two doses, the businesses mentioned. 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.

Lynsey Chutel contributed reporting.

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