On December 9, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded their booster recommendations for adolescents aged 16 and 17 years for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. CDC recommends the booster dose for everyone 16 years and older who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at 6 months or more after their initial series.

Rigorous clinical trials found COVID-19 vaccination is safe and effective in those ages 5 and older. Some people have mild to moderate side effects within the first few days of vaccination, and others don’t feel anything at all. COVID-19 vaccines have been undergoing the most intensive vaccine safety monitoring in U.S. history. In very rare cases, myocarditis/pericarditis (inflammation in and around the heart) have been reported. Many things cause heart inflammation, such as viral or bacterial infections and medical conditions. Myocarditis/pericarditis can happen from COVID-19 disease. In very rare cases, it has been reported after mRNA vaccination, particularly among male teens and young adults. In general, risk of myocarditis/pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination is lower than risk of myocarditis from getting COVID-19 disease. Healthcare providers are encouraged to remind patients/caregivers to seek care if symptoms of myocarditis/pericarditis appear after vaccination, especially males ages 12-29 years.

At this time, initial data suggests that COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen the protection against Omicron and other variants. The Bureau for Public Health strongly recommends adolescents aged 16 and 17 get their booster if they are at least 6 months post their initial Pfizer-BioNTech series.