New York Daily News: MANHATTAN, By Peter Sblendorio – All Americans ages 16 and older are now approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to get a booster shot of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the agency announced Thursday.

Previously, only adults ages 18 and up were eligible for the third Pfizer shot.

“Vaccination and getting a booster when eligible, along with other preventive measures like masking and avoiding large crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, remain our most effective methods for fighting COVID-19,” the FDA’s acting commissioner, Janet Woodcock, said Thursday.

“As people gather indoors with family and friends for the holidays, we can’t let up on all the preventive public health measures that we have been taking during the pandemic. With both the delta and omicron variants continuing to spread, vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19..”


Pfizer’s booster is the first to be authorized by the FDA for people under 18. Americans ages 5 and up are eligible for the initial two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Those who are vaccinated can receive the booster six months after their second dose of the Pfizer shot.

“The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been available to individuals 16 years of age and older for nearly a year, and its benefits have been shown to clearly outweigh potential risks,” said Peter Marks, the director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet given a recommendation regarding the booster for 16- and 17-year-olds.

Thursday’s announcement by the FDA comes a day after Pfizer and BioNTech said preliminary lab data indicates their booster shot increases protection against the new omicron variant of the virus “25-fold” compared to the first two doses.

“Although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the omicron strain, it’s clear from these preliminary data that protection is improved with a third dose of our vaccine,” Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and CEO, said Wednesday.

“Ensuring as many people as possible are fully vaccinated with the first two dose series and a booster remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Coronavirus vaccinations around the world