WASHINGTON (CBS NEWS) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that Americans as young as 16 get a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine. The decision came hours after the Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer and BioNTech’s third dose for that age group. Boosters were previously green-lighted for ages 18 and up.

“Although we don’t have all the answers on the Omicron variant, initial data suggests that COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen the protection against Omicron and other variants,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

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“We know that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and I strongly encourage adolescents ages 16 and 17 to get their booster if they are at least 6 months post their initial Pfizer vaccination series,” said Walensky.

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The moves come a little more than a week after Pfizer announced their request, as health authorities are pleading with eligible Americans to seek out the third shot and boost their protection. Beyond a feared surge in breakthrough infections from the Omicron variant, several states are already seeing a wave of Delta variant cases that have strained hospitals.

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