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An advisory committee to the FDA recommended Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use authorization in children between the ages of 6 and 17 on Tuesday in a unanimous vote.
The FDA, which usually follows the advice of the committee, is likely to give final approval to Moderna’s vaccine in this age group soon.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was approved for teenagers a year ago and was approved for kids between the ages of 5 and 11 last fall, but vaccination rates in these groups still lag the adult population.
A pharmacist holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in West Haven, Connecticut, U.S., February 17, 2021. (REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo / Reuters)
About three-fifths of kids between the ages of 12 and 17 are fully vaccinated, while only about a third of kids between the ages of 5 and 11 are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
Still, some members of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee were hopeful that the approval of Moderna’s vaccine would give families more options.
“I’d like to give parents as many choices as possible, and let them make the decisions about this for their children,” Dr. Arthur Reingold, a committee member and the head of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley, said at the meeting on Tuesday.
A health worker administers a dose of a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at the Norristown Public Health Center in Norristown, Pa., Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke / AP Newsroom)
Moderna’s vaccine has been held up over concerns that it could cause higher rates of myocarditis, or heart inflammation, than Pfizer’s vaccine among young males.
Tom Shimabukuro, a member of the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Coordination Unit, told the advisory panel on Tuesday that “some evidence suggests that myocarditis and pericarditis risk may be higher after Moderna than after Pfizer-BioNTech,” but “findings are not consistent in all U.S. monitoring systems.”
The same panel will meet Wednesday to review Moderna’s vaccine for children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years old.
Reuters contributed to this report.