Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup Expands Use of Pfizer-BioNTech Booster Dose for 12- to 15-Year Olds


Booster interval shortened to five months after primary vaccination series

Third vaccine dose for certain immunocompromised children authorized for 5- to 11-year olds

SACRAMENTO – The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup today completed its review of the federal process and has recommended expanding Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose eligibility to anyone 12 years of age and older who completed their primary vaccination series at least five months ago. The Workgroup also confirmed the federal authorization of a third vaccine dose for certain immunocompromised children ages 5 to 11. The Workgroup provided its confirmation to the Governors of California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington today.

The Workgroup recommended the following actions regarding the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Expand the use of a single Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose to include use in individuals 12 through 15 years of age;
  • Shorten the time between the completion of primary vaccination of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and a booster dose to at least five months;
  • Allow for a third primary series dose for certain immunocompromised children 5 through 11 years of age.

On Monday, January 3, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the expanded use of the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot and the CDC affirmed those decisions on Wednesday. The Workgroup reviewed and affirmed the federal decisions Wednesday evening and Thursday. ​​

Washington, Oregon and Nevada joined California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October 2020. The workgroup, made up of nationally-acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health, has concurrently and independently reviewed the FDA’s actions related to COVID-19 vaccines. It will continue to evaluate other COVID-19 vaccines as they go through the federal process.

Statement from California Governor Gavin Newsom:

“It’s simple, vaccines save lives. Everyone 12 and older should keep their immunity strong and protect themselves and their families against COVID-19, including the highly transmissible Omicron variant, by getting a booster dose. The state has ample vaccine supply, so don’t wait – get your booster today.”

Statement from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak:

“Vaccines and boosters are a key line of defense in the fight against COVID-19, particularly with the Omicron surge we are experiencing. I know this is welcome news to families across Nevada who are eager to get their children boosted. The State has increased access to vaccines and I encourage families to take advantage of this opportunity now. If you have not yet gotten your first or second dose, please do so, and if you are eligible, get boosted.”

Statement from Oregon Governor Kate Brown:

“Vaccines and boosters are critical tools in our fight against COVID-19, Omicron, and future variants. With today’s review by leading doctors, pediatricians, and health experts, Oregon youth, parents, and families can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech booster doses. It’s normal to have questions about vaccines––please, reach out to your family health care provider to get your questions answered, and find a vaccine or booster appointment near you today.”

Statement from Washington Governor Jay Inslee:

“It is great news that more Washingtonians can receive the booster to help protect them against Omicron and other variants. I urge all young people and their families to get the booster shot and protect themselves and their communities.