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What to know about the CDC's recommendation of COVID-19 boosters for children 12 and older

The CDC recommends Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster for children 12 and older and reduced the wait time between the vaccine’s primary series and booster to five months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Jan. 5 updated its COVID-19 booster shot recommendation to include children ages 12 to 15. The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for children ages 12 to 17. 

"We now recommend that all adolescents aged 12-17 years should receive a booster shot 5 months after their primary series," CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

The CDC's decision comes two days after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was authorizing the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 booster in children from 12 to 15.

VERIFY viewers had a number of questions following the FDA's announcement.

THE QUESTION

Does a child 12 or older have to wait until six months after their primary COVID-19 vaccine series to get their booster dose?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, a child 12 or older does not have to wait until six months after their primary COVID-19 vaccine series to get their booster dose. The updates from the FDA and CDC changed the wait time to five months for the Pfizer vaccine and booster.

The CDC announced on Jan. 4 it was recommending all people who've taken the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to get their booster dose after five months, instead of six months as they recommended previously.

On top of authorizing the Pfizer COVID-19 booster for children ages 12 to 15, the FDA on Jan. 3 also expanded eligibility for anyone taking the Pfizer booster to all people, including adults, who completed their primary vaccine series more than five months ago. 

THE QUESTION

Can a teenager get their flu shot at the same time as their COVID-19 booster shot?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, a teenager can get their flu shot at the same time as their COVID-19 booster shot, according to Dr. Lawrence Kleinman, a pediatrician with Rutgers RWJ Medical School.

“The current recommendation is that they can and that it is safe and effective. There are certain vaccines that are frequently administered together,” Kleinman said. “The CDC has said that for this particular combination it is safe and effective to do so.”

This is consistent with the CDC’s guidance for children taking the primary series of the COVID-19 vaccines and for anyone getting a booster shot. The CDC says a person can get their flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time, and can also get their flu shot at the same time as their COVID-19 booster shot. The CDC says children eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine can get their COVID-19 vaccination at the same time as their flu vaccinations, and the shots are administered on different arms.

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