FDA Advisers Clear Path To COVID-19 Vaccines For Young Children

(Photo by CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) expert vaccine advisers voted Wednesday to recommend COVID-19 vaccines for children under five years old, paving the way for shots to become available to America’s youngest children as soon as next week.

The agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted unanimously Wednesday that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer outweigh the risks for kids older than six months. The agency had previously determined in February that the evidence wasn’t clear enough to give the shots a greenlight, but new data presented by Pfizer and Moderna this week convinced them that had changed.

Now, the FDA commissioner will grant a formal authorization and then kick the can to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC’s expert vaccine panel will likely then vote to recommend the shots, and then CDC director Rochelle Walensky will give the final go-ahead. All of this could be done as soon as next week, according to the Associated Press.

VRBPAC said there isn’t a clear favorite between the two shots and that parents can safely choose either for their child. Pfizer’s shot is cleared for kids six months through four years, and Moderna’s for kids six months through five years. Pfizer’s regimen is three shots, while Moderna’s is just two, although the company said it expects to add a booster soon. (RELATED: Biden FDA Commissioner Says ‘Misinformation’ Is ‘Leading Cause Of Death’ In America)

Moderna and Pfizer’s offerings for young kids are one-quarter and one-tenth the dose of their adults shots, respectively. Now, 18 more million Americans will be eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and every American above six months old will soon be able to get vaccinated.