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Springfield health agencies prepare as FDA clears COVID-19 booster shots for older teens

Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 12:12 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 10, 2021 at 4:49 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Older teens have been cleared for Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster shot as of Thursday.

The Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization for 16- and 17-year-olds on Thursday to get a third dose of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech. These teens are eligible if it has been six months since their last COVID-19 shot.

Parents need to keep a few things in mind before they try and scheduled an appointment. Many health systems and organizations, including the Jordan Valley Community Health Center, will not be able to offer boosters to 16- and 17-year-olds until the state approves such guidance. The state could issue new guidance as soon as next week.

The Jordan Valley Community Health Center says, once approved, 16- and 17-year-olds can walk-in, but they will need to be with a parent or guardian. Doctors at Jordan Valley say getting the booster is more important than ever, even for teens who just became eligible.

“What we know, from the initial data to come out about these boosters, is that they are very important for maximizing your immunity against the COVID variants,” said Dr. Clint Strong, general practitioner for Jordan Valley. “We do not know all of the information on the omicron strain variant yet, but we do know that the booster does improve the longevity and strength of immunity against COVID-19.”

According to health officials, we still do not have all the answers on the omicron variant and the booster will help provide more protection. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department says, as soon as the state gives the go, they will administer booster shots to newly-eligible teens by the next business day.

KY3 also spoke to officials from Mercy Hospital on the FDA’s new approval for booster shots.

”We can’t end on the just the two-shot series for the 16- and 17-year-olds, they really need a booster just like the adults do,” said Dr. William Sistrunk, Mercy infectious diseases doctor. ”We’re seeing more pediatric patients with Delta too.”

Doctors say the booster can help improve immunity and prevent serious symptoms from COVID-19 variants.

“From the initial data that has come out about the boosters, that they are very important for maximizing your immunity against the COVID variants,” said Dr. Sistrunk

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