FDA Authorizes Pfizer Boosters for Teens Ages 16 and 17

On Thursday, December 9, 2021, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot among 16- and 17-year-olds.

The booster is authorized for use at least six months after getting the second dose of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine–the only vaccine currently authorized for use among 16- and 17-year-olds.

All US adults have been authorized to receive any mix-and-match of booster shots since November (any booster 2 months after the primary one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or any booster 6 months after the two-dose mRNA series from Pfizer or Moderna). However, the FDA recently edited their recommendations to clarify that in light of some rare blood clotting concerns with the J&J vaccine, they recommend the mRNA vaccines over J&J when available.

Non-grandfathered health plans must cover all authorized COVID-19 vaccines and boosters immediately upon authorization in- and out-of-network without cost sharing. While the vaccines themselves are fully paid for by the federal government, providers charge the health plan for administering the vaccine and monitoring the patient immediately after for potential side effects.


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