The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially issued its recommendation for the public use of the updated COVID-19 booster doses from Pfizer and Moderna.

The public health agency released its recommendation via its website on Thursday, saying the boosters from Pfizer and Moderna could be used for people ages 12 and above and people ages 18 and above, respectively.

On why the new boosters are essential in the prolonged pandemic, the CDC said they contain omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components that help restore and ensure protection from SARS-CoV-2 and its newer, more transmissible and immune-invading variants.

The CDC’s recommendation comes days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the bivalent COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna for use as boosters.

Both boosters were approved by the FDA as single-dose jabs. FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf said the vaccines and boosters will “continue to save countless lives and prevent the most serious outcomes (hospitalization and death) of COVID-19.”

Interestingly, the boosters received negative publicity after The Wall Street Journal learned that the federal agency would authorize the updated vaccines even if data from clinical trials involving humans were still unavailable.

The daily newspaper said the FDA would be bypassing its normal decision-making process in favor of the earlier release of booster shots. Instead of waiting for human testing results, the agency would rely on data from mice trials and real-world evidence from the currently available vaccines and test results of previous booster versions.

“Real-world evidence from the current mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, which have been administered to millions of individuals, show us that the vaccines are safe. As we know from prior experience, strain changes can be made without affecting safety,” Califf wrote on Twitter.

In its latest press release, the CDC indicated it would approve the updated COVID-19 boosters for other pediatric groups once data are available and the FDA authorizes their use and rollout as part of the country’s robust vaccination program.