FDA Authorizes Pfizer Booster for Young Adults

December 10, 2021

Yesterday, the FDA authorized COVID-19 booster shots for 16 and 17 year olds. Young adults in this age group who’ve received two shots of the Pfizer vaccine may now receive a third dose, 6 months after their primary series. As of now, Pfizer is the only vaccine manufacturer authorized for emergency use in children; Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines are only authorized for adults 18+. To read more about the development process for these vaccines, as well as the authorization process, check out our chart.

The FDA made this decision for booster doses due to the emergence of the Omicron variant, following Pfizer’s announcement that two doses may not provide ample protection against Omicron. The company stated that a third dose of the vaccine will provide protection against Omicron similar to that of two doses against the Alpha variant. In fact, “data indicate that a third dose of [the Pfizer vaccine] increases the neutralizing antibody titers by 25-fold compared to two doses against the Omicron variant.”