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The Centers for Disease Control and Protection is endorsing a scientific panel’s recommendation that children as young as 12 receive a COVID-19 booster as soon as they’re eligible.

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Update 9:32 p.m. EST Jan. 5: The Centers for Disease Control and Protection has endorsed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendation that children as young as 12 receive a COVID-19 booster as soon as they are eligible.

“It is critical that we protect our children and teens from COVID-19 infection and the complications of severe disease,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, said in a statement Wednesday night. “This booster dose will provide optimized protection against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. I encourage all parents to keep their children up to date with CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.”

Original report: The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended booster shots for younger teens at least five months after they had received their second shot. The vote passed by a 13-1 margin.

All Americans 16 and older are encouraged to receive a booster shot, The Associated Press reported. Health authorities said the boosters offer people the best chance at avoiding the contagious omicron variant.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky must approve the recommendation for it to take effect.

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration also authorized an extra Pfizer shot for children ages 12 to 15, according to the AP.

“A single Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-10 vaccine booster dose is recommended for persons aged 12-17 years at least five months after primary series under the FDA’s emergency use authorization,” the advisory committee said in its new recommendation.

On Monday, the FDA expanded the emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine boosters to children ages 12 to 15, CNN reported.

If Walensky endorses the ACIP’s recommendation, teens ages 12 to 15 could begin receiving booster shots immediately, The New York Times reported. Teens 16 and older were already allowed to receive the booster.

The FDA also endorsed “an additional primary dose” of the Pfizer vaccine for moderately or severely immunocompromised children aged 5 to 11, to be given 28 days after their second shots, according to the newspaper.

The vaccine made by Pfizer is the only option for U.S. children of any age, the AP reported. About 13.5 million children ages 12 to 17 have received two Pfizer shots, the CDC said.