CDC recommends use of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s director Rochelle Walensky, MD, signed off on an advisory panel’s recommendation May 12 endorsing the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents aged 12-15 years.

Earlier in the day the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 14-0 in favor of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in younger teens.

“CDC now recommends that this vaccine be used among this population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away,” Dr. Walensky said in an official statement.

The Food and Drug Administration on May 10 issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 12-15 years old. The FDA first cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine through an EUA in December 2020 for those ages 16 and older. Pfizer this month also initiated steps with the FDA toward a full approval of its vaccine.

Dr. Walenksy urged parents to seriously consider vaccinating their children.

“Understandably, some parents want more information before their children receive a vaccine,” she said. “I encourage parents with questions to talk to your child’s healthcare provider or your family doctor to learn more about the vaccine.”

Vaccine “safe and effective”

Separately, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement May 12 in support of vaccinating all children ages 12 and older who are eligible for the federally authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

“As a pediatrician and a parent, I have looked forward to getting my own children and patients vaccinated, and I am thrilled that those ages 12 and older can now be protected,” said AAP President Lee Savio Beers, MD, in a statement. “The data continue to show that this vaccine is safe and effective. I urge all parents to call their pediatrician to learn more about how to get their children and teens vaccinated.”

The expanded clearance for the Pfizer vaccine is seen as a critical step for allowing teens to resume activities on which they missed out during the pandemic.

“We’ve seen the harm done to children’s mental and emotional health as they’ve missed out on so many experiences during the pandemic,” Dr. Beers said. “Vaccinating children will protect them and allow them to fully engage in all of the activities – school, sports, socializing with friends and family – that are so important to their health and development.”

A version of this article first appeared on Medscape.com.

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