This article first appeared on NC Policy Watch on Jan. 3.

by Clayton Henkel

The Food and Drug Administration has expanded its approval of COVID booster shots for 12-15 year-olds.

Monday’s approval of Pfizer’s vaccine by the FDA comes as the omicron variant continues its rapid post-holiday spread across the country.

“With the current wave of the omicron variant, it’s critical that we continue to take effective, life-saving preventative measures such as primary vaccination and boosters, mask wearing and social distancing in order to effectively fight COVID-19,” said acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock in a press release.

In making the decision, the FDA reviewed data from more than 6,300 individuals 12 through 15 years of age who received a booster dose of the vaccine.

In its announcement Monday, the FDA also noted that is would be updating the booster interval to five months after their second Pfizer dose, noting no new safety concerns for this age group.

The agency also gave its approval to a third primary dose for children 5-11 years of age, who have undergone organ transplant or who have certain serious immunocompromised conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory committee is expected to weigh-in on Pfizer boosters for those under 15 later this week.

On Monday the NC Department of Health and Human Services reported nearly 13,000 new COVID cases with more than 27% of tests conducted coming back positive for the virus.

There are 2,722 individuals currently hospitalized across North Carolina with COVID, a more than 10% increase since New Year’s Eve.

For the final week of 2021, North Carolina administered 51,767 COVID vaccines.

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