COVID-19 boosters now authorized for ages 12-15, dosing interval lowered, additional primary dose recommended for certain immunocompromised children

(Photo courtesy of ADPH)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has notified Alabama healthcare providers that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have endorsed new recommendations for COVID-19 vaccinations.

The updates came about after a thorough and ongoing review of the available safety and efficacy data by the Food and Drug Administration in the setting of surging COVID-19 cases in adults and children, the CDC noted. Known and potential benefits of additional doses were determined to outweigh any potential risks of vaccine.

Changes are summarized as follows:

Authorizes the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as a single booster dose in individuals 12 – 15 years of age. Previously, the booster dose of the vaccine was authorized for adolescents 16 years of age and older.

Lowers the authorized dosing interval of a booster dose to at least five months after completion of a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna primary series. This authorization extends to those receiving a two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna primary series. The booster dose after the Johnson and Johnson/Janssen vaccine remains at two months. Both the Moderna and Johnson &Johnson/Janssen vaccines are only authorized in those 18 years of age and older.

Authorizes a third primary series dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine administered at least 28 days following the two-dose regimen of this vaccine in individuals 5 – 11 years of age who are determined to be moderately to severely immunocompromised. Previously, the vaccine was authorized only for those 12 years of age and older with an immunocompromising condition. No changes were made to the previously authorized use of the vaccine for those 12 years of age and older with immunocompromise.

No updates were made for the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, although the CDC reports that a continuous review of the data is ongoing. The mRNA vaccine product continues to be preferred for the primary series and the booster dose.  

Studies show that after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, protection decreases over time and may also be decreased due to changes in circulating variants. Pediatric COVID-19 vaccines are available at some pediatric offices, local health departments and pharmacies.

Go to to learn more about vaccines for children and teens, eligibility by age, and to find clinic information.