Panel recommends FDA authorize Moderna vaccine for kids, teens 6 to 17

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(The Hill) – A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel on Tuesday recommended the agency expand the authorization of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to children and teenagers ages 6 to 17.

The vaccine is currently approved for adults only. 

The panel voted 22-0 to recommend authorizing Moderna’s two-dose vaccine for adolescents and teenagers ages 12 to 17. The panel similarly voted 22-0 to recommend authorizing the shot for 6-to-11 year olds. 

The FDA is likely to follow the panel’s advice in the coming days, but there ultimately won’t likely be much of an impact on vaccination rates, since children and teenagers have had access to Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine since last year. 

After the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will consider the matter as early as Friday.

Moderna initially asked the FDA to clear its vaccine for adolescents ages 12 to 17 last June, but concerns over a rare heart condition led officials to delay authorization. 

On Tuesday, health officials said the risks for myocarditis and pericarditis may be higher in adolescent males, but the overall incidence is relatively rare and not statistically significant enough to draw definitive conclusions. In addition, the vast majority who suffer the side effect fully recover.

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