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Demand For COVID Vaccine Boosters Grows As 16, 17-Year-Olds Become Eligible

SOMERVILLE (CBS) -- Public health officials are worried that vaccine effectiveness wanes over time and they believe a third dose will provide continued protection against COVID-19. Just hours after the FDA approved Pfizer's booster shot for 16 and 17-year-olds, the CDC signed off too.

"This is the first time the FDA and CDC have made the decision on the same day so it's accelerating the process," said New Health Center Dr. John Foster.

"I think all evidence is pointing to the likelihood that a booster with the original formulation, the one available now is going to provide good protection against omicron," explained Tufts Medical Center Dr. Shira Doron.

It may take some time to get a booster appointment though. In Somerville, at least one COVID vaccine clinic has stopped welcoming walk-ins and moved to an appointment-only setup due to demand.

"After this whole omicron thing, I was like I'm going to get my booster," said one woman at the clinic. "Going to see my parents in California so want to make sure everyone is safe."

Dr. Foster said, "I think getting boosters out there is so critical now so any incremental addition we can do is really important going through the holidays and the surge going on right now."

Federal health officials have approved only Pfizer for 16 and 17-year-olds who got their second shot at least six months ago.

A pop-up vaccine clinic held at Boston City Hall on Thursday gave people the opportunity to get the booster sooner rather than later.

"I had looked at a few pharmacies but they were booking far out and this got me in earlier," one woman said.

The city is holding a high-capacity vaccine clinic at the Vine Street Community Center in Roxbury on Saturday.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has gotten her third shot too.

"We're working against the clock right now, as we've seen new variants and a surge heading into the winter," Wu said.

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