The Delaware Division of Public Health on Thursday said that those aged 12 to 15 may be given booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, as long as their original shots were with Pfizer and were at least five months ago.
The state’s move follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control’s approval this week to expand the emergency use authorization of Pfizer boosters for the age group.
The CDC also shortened the booster interval from 6 months to 5 months for people who received Pfizer vaccine. The booster interval recommendation for those who received the J&J vaccine (2 months) or the Moderna vaccine (6 months), has not changed.
Individuals younger than 18 are only able to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and are not able to mix and match vaccine brands for their booster as older people can.
The FDA and CDC relied on Israeli data that showed there were no safety concerns for 12- to 18-year-olds.
The move comes as the state is grappling with record-setting daily numbers of new cases and record-setting numbers of hospitalizations.
“This is welcome news,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of Public Health. “Vaccines and booster doses offer the best protection against infection, hospitalization and death. I urge all Delawareans who are eligible to receive a booster dose to get one now. If you or your children have not received an initial round of the COVID-19 vaccine series, now is the time to protect yourself, your children and those you love. The more Delawareans who are vaccinated and protected against this virus, the better protected we all will be.”
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are 7 and 11 times higher, respectively, in unvaccinated adolescents, compared to vaccinated adolescents, the state press release said.
The FDA and CDC also moved to allow for moderately or severely immunocompromised 5–11-year-olds to receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second shot. At this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for them.
Children in this age group who have undergone solid organ transplantation, or who have been diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise, may not respond adequately to the two-dose primary vaccination series, and benefit from a third dose, the press release said.
The FDA previously authorized a third primary series dose for use as part of the primary immunization series in individuals 12 years and older.
Delawareans who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot are recommended to seek vaccines at existing vaccine sites, including pharmacies, health care providers, federally qualified health centers, DPH clinics and the following standing DPH vaccine sites:
- Blue Hen Corporate Center: 655 S. Bay Road, Dover, DE 19901
- Georgetown Plaza: 19 Georgetown Plaza, Georgetown, DE 19947
- Canby Park: 1920 Maryland Ave., Wilmington, DE 19805
- University Plaza, 256 Chapman Road, Suite 100, Newark, DE 19702
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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