Advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday unanimously voted to recommend use of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine for children and adolescents aged 6 to 17. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expected to sign off on the recommendations soon, which would allow the U.S. government to start rolling out the Moderna vaccine for these age groups.
That would mean both mRNA COVID vaccines would be available to all Americans ages 6-months-old and up. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, based on similar messenger RNA technology, has been available for teens for over a year and for children aged 5-11 since October.
Roughly 25 million U.S. children and adolescents in that age group have yet to receive even one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, CDC official Sara Oliver told the expert advisory panel. There have been concerns that the Moderna vaccine, which is given at a higher dose than the Pfizer/BioNTech shot, may cause types of heart inflammation at higher rates, primarily in younger males.
The agency last week said more recent U.S. data showed that while there was a numerically higher rate of myocarditis or pericarditis with Moderna’s shot, the findings were not statistically significant, meaning they might be due to chance. The FDA authorized Moderna’s vaccine just last week for the 6-11 age group, along with clearance for use in children as young as 6 months to 5-years-old.
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