A sign warns people with COVID-19 symptoms to not enter a vaccination clinic at the Augusta Armory, Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021, in Augusta.  Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine kids between the ages of 12 and 15 can now get COVID-19 booster shots at least five months after they received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, the state announced this week.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a third dose of the vaccine for kids in that age group on Monday, citing concern that waning immunity was leading to more mild breakthrough cases as well as evidence out of Israel that a third shot had no major safety concerns.

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention committee recommended boosters on Wednesday, but state officials in Maine already gave medical providers the go-ahead to administer boosters following the FDA’s decision.

The state opted to go ahead of the federal recommendation because it “didn’t see a reason to wait,” said Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, basing that on indicating the safety and efficacy of the third shot for kids in that age group.

Some Maine providers are already offering third shots to kids between the ages of 12 and 15, including Northern Light Health. As of Wednesday afternoon, appointments were available at several of its clinics across the state, including its Union Street location in Bangor.

National pharmacy chains, such as Walgreens, have not been scheduling booster appointments for children younger than 16 this time, citing the lack of a U.S. CDC recommendation. That could change by Thursday.

The U.S. CDC also updated its guidance this week to recommend a booster after five months — rather than six — for all adults who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. It also now recommends a booster for immunocompromised children between the ages of 5 and 11 one month after receiving their shot of the lower-dose Pfizer kids vaccine.