Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), endorsed a recommendation from a key advisory panel to offer Pfizer's COVID-19 booster shot to children as young as 12.
"We now recommend that all adolescents aged 12-17 years should receive a booster shot 5 months after their primary series," Walensky said in a statement Wednesday night. "This booster dose will provide optimized protection against COVID-19 and the omicron variant."
The panel had endorsed the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot for ages 12 to 15 on Wednesday. That endorsement cames days after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the booster shot for children as young as 12.
Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for use in adolescents in May, which means many teens will immediately be eligible for additional shots as soon as they are available.
According to the CDC, approximately 13.5 million children ages 12 to 17 have received two Pfizer shots.
The move to offer boosters comes as the U.S. deals with a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the highly contagious omicron variant. While the new strain has shown to be slightly more resistant to vaccines, health officials say vaccines and booster shots offer significant protection against severe disease and death.