Medical experts discuss COVID-19 booster injections for 16 and 17 year olds


Saturday 11 December 2021
Kim Dacey, WBAL-TV 11

Some experts told 11 News they were mixed on whether teens need COVID-19 reminders, but there’s one thing they all agree on.

The country’s top health officials are expanding access to COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation on Thursday, Young people aged 16 and 17 are now eligible to receive a third injection of the Pfizer vaccine. This is the first COVID-19 recall authorized for this age group.

Research from Pfizer shows that two doses of its vaccine do not hold up well to the omicron variant, but adding a booster gives 25 times the protection.

But do teens need boosters? And will a third hit really help protect you from the omicron variant?

Some experts agree more people need to get vaccinated to help end the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it’s just as important for 16 and 17 year olds as it is for young adults,” said Dr. James Campbell, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“I don’t think there is strong evidence that we’ve seen waning immunity in adolescents, especially against what matters – serious illness,” said Dr Amesh Adalja, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The recommendation comes as cases of the new omicron variant are on the rise across the country.

Campbell explains why a recall might help.

“Typically, the antibodies you make after a booster are stickier. They stick to the virus better, so even changes in the virus, because they’re stickier, tend to work better,” he said. he declares.

Pfizer has reported that a third dose of its vaccine works to neutralize the omicron variant in lab studies, but Adalja said that wasn’t the whole headline.

“What is often not reported that Pfizer has said is that two doses are sufficient for protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death, and I think that should be the goal,” he said. said Adalja.

For those who want a booster, there isn’t any firm data on how brand blending and pairing will work against the omicron variant but, according to Campbell, “I think we know you’re getting a really good one. boost, whichever one you use, so we’re assuming the boost will help regardless of that variation. “

Ultimately, it’s an individual choice to get a booster or one for your teenager, but most importantly, get everyone vaccinated first.

“I think we really have to remember that the third doses will not end this pandemic. They are the first and second doses,” Adalja said.

Campbell said there was no data yet, but it is likely that health officials will eventually recommend that young children receive a third injection as well.

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