In the case of a surge in omicron, the CDC team recommends Pfizer boosters for children aged 12 to 15

At the vaccination clinic of the First Health Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida, a nurse vaccinated 15-year-old Shirley Trimble.

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Accredited by the Independent Vaccine Expert Panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Pfizer and Biological TechnologyOn Wednesday, children between the ages of 12 and 15 were given Covid booster injections as the children returned to school amid an unprecedented surge in the number of infections across the United States

The CDC’s Immunization Practice Advisory Committee voted 13 votes to 1 to recommend Pfizer to give children 12 to 15 years of age a booster for at least five months after the second dose. Rochelle Varensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is expected to quickly sign the committee’s approval and provide a third shot to teenagers as soon as this week.

If Walensky supports the committee’s decision, all youths are eligible for Pfizer boosters.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention A booster for 16 and 17 year olds In December.

As the highly contagious omicron mutation has triggered a wave of infections in a wider population, the rate of hospitalization of children infected with Covid in the United States is rising. A number of studies have shown that enhanced injections can significantly improve protection against infections and serious diseases.

The chairperson of the committee, Dr. Grace Lee, said that the epidemic has burdened an entire generation of children whose mental and emotional health has been affected by school closures and separation from their peers.

Li said that vaccination is essential to prevent the spread of the virus and keep schools and wider communities open so that children can thrive. She said that the long-term health effects of the infection on children are also unclear.

“I also firmly believe that we have not addressed the long-term impact of Covid infection on children,” Li said. “I think we haven’t even touched the surface we are going to see.”

According to the 7-day average data of the Department of Health and Human Services, as of Wednesday, approximately 3,800 children were hospitalized due to Covid, an increase of 64% over the previous week and the highest level since HHS began tracking data in the summer of 2020.

CDC official Dr. Sara Oliver told the committee that the hospitalization rate of 12 to 15-year-olds has remained relatively stable, but she pointed out that her data is only as of December 10 and may not reflect the new infection of omicron.

Oliver said that the effectiveness of the booster for children between 12 and 15 years of age is unclear, but the third injection may increase protection. A recent study by the British Health and Safety Agency found that boosters are as effective as 75% in preventing symptomatic infections. However, according to the study, the first two doses of Pfizer vaccine were only about 10% effective in preventing symptomatic infections 20 weeks after the second dose.

The only committee member who voted against the decision, Dr. Keipp Talbot, said that she supports enhanced vaccination, but believes that the first two doses of vaccine for all eligible children should be given priority over the third dose.

“I think it is unfair for people between 12 and 17 years of age to have the risk of developing myocarditis again for unknown benefits, because their colleagues will not be vaccinated,” Talbot said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer on Monday to inject boosters into children between 12 and 15 years of age. Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA team responsible for vaccine safety, told the CDC team that the rapid spread of omicron prompted the agency to act quickly to provide boosters for teenagers.

Max said that after evaluating the real data of more than 6,000 children aged 12 to 15 from Israel receiving Pfizer boosters, the FDA did not find any new safety issues. In these children, there were no new cases of myocarditis or pericarditis. These rare side effects were inflammation or swelling of the heart.

The head of the Israeli Public Health Service, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, told the committee that there were two cases of myocarditis in the 12 to 15-year-old age group after more than 40,000 doses of booster were injected.

For children between 12 and 15 years of age, myocarditis appears to be the most common after the second dose of Pfizer. The CDC’s vaccine safety team found that as of December 19, 2021, there were 265 cases among adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 who had received two Pfizer vaccines. The vast majority of cases, 221, occurred after the second dose, and 90% of the patients were boys.

Myocarditis caused 251 people to be hospitalized, but 96% of the patients were discharged home. This situation is still rare. Boys between the ages of 12 and 15 receive 45 injections per million injections, and girls in the same age group receive 3.8 injections per million injections.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 47,000 teenagers between the ages of 16 and 17 received a booster dose of Pfizer in the United States. This is the next age group eligible to receive a booster dose, and 95% of reported side effects are not serious.

The CDC official, Dr. Evelyn Twentyman, told the committee that Israel’s vaccination-the country has launched a large-scale booster campaign-showed that myocarditis in people 16 years and older is even rarer after booster injections.

Dr. Julie Bloom, director of the immunization program at Texas Children’s Hospital, told the committee that the strengthening recommendations for children 12 years of age and older were “not coming fast enough.”

Bloom said that since the first two doses of the vaccine, children 12 years and older have begun to lose immunity to Covid, which puts them at increased risk of omicron.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, at least 7.8 million children have been infected with Covid since the pandemic began. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1,000 children have died from the virus.

Bloom said: “We must do our best to reduce any further adverse effects on our children’s mental health, physical health and education.”

White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a news conference on Wednesday that the impact of omicron on children does not seem to be as serious as delta, but he cautioned against complacency and urged parents to vaccinate their children and strengthen treatment if they meet the conditions.

– CNBC’s Nate Rattner, Dawn Kopecki and Lauren Feiner contributed to this report