According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, children ages 12 and older are now eligible for a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster dose five months after completing the primary series. This announcement comes following the approval process by the federal government.
The five-month booster interval was updated from the previous authorization of six months and is applicable to anyone 12 years of age or older who received the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for their primary vaccination series.
“It is great news to see booster eligibility expanded and we know providers are ready to offer more protection for Pennsylvanians,” said Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson. “The Department of Health urges all eligible Pennsylvanians who have yet to get vaccinated to do so immediately and for those people who are eligible to receive a booster shot to get that added level of protection as soon as possible.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also amended the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to allow for a third primary series dose for certain immunocompromised children ages 5-11, at least 28 days following the second dose.
Children between the ages of 5-11 who are fully vaccinated and are not immunocompromised are not eligible for a third dose at this time, but the Department of Health continues to review relevant information and studies from the FDA and CDC.
“The virus is evolving and we need to adapt and follow the science to stay ahead of it. The omicron variant appears to be slightly more resistant to the primary series of all approved vaccines,” said Acting Secretary of Health Keara Klinepeter. “While it is important to become fully vaccinated, we need every eligible Pennsylvanian to get their booster dose to maximize protection for you and your loved ones.”
While anyone 18 years and older may receive any vaccine booster regardless of which brand of vaccine was received for primary vaccination, those who are 5-17 years old are only eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Pennsylvania vaccine providers, including pediatricians, primary care physicians, pharmacies and federally-qualified health centers, are able to schedule and administer booster doses now.