AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine teens as young as 12 years old can now start getting a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the expansion of those doses on Monday.
The move is somewhat unusual. Typically, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has waited until the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues recommendations for use of expanding vaccines to different eligibility groups. The U.S. CDC does not normally make those recommendations until it hears from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which reviews the data and presents suggestions to the CDC.
In a note to vaccination sites participating in the Maine Immunization Program, the Maine CDC wrote:
"Maine Immunization Program COVID-19 vaccine providers may begin administering boosters to this age group immediately. The U.S. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet on Wednesday, January 5th to discuss clinical recommendations of boosters in this age group."
The update from the FDA also shortened the time for a person to become eligible for a booster of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from six months following a second dose, to five months.
That guidance also included allowing for a third primary series dose for certain immunocompromised children ages five through 11.
While the move does not follow the traditional order of operations, it comes at a time when more kids are testing positive for COVID-19 in Maine.
The Maine CDC will hold its weekly update on COVID-19 in the state at 2 p.m. Director Dr. Nirav Shah is expected to address this, as well as omicron cases in the state.
This story will be updated.