NEW YORK (AP) — A panel of experts on Thursday backed a second COVID-19 vaccine option for children ages 6 to 17.
Advisors from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted unanimously to recommend Moderna injections as an option for school-aged children and adolescents. This group has been able to get shots made by Pfizer since last year.
The panel’s recommendations are generally adopted by the CDC and become government guidance for American physicians and their patients.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the shots — full-strength doses for children ages 12 to 17 and half for ages 6 to 11. The doses should be given about a month apart.
The FDA has also authorized a third dose for children with significantly weakened immune systems, to be administered approximately one month after the second dose in the primary series. The CDC should recommend the same.
Moderna officials said they plan to offer a booster later to all children between the ages of 6 and 17.
The demand for the snapshots is unclear. Teenagers became eligible a year ago for Pfizer’s vaccine, which uses the same technology, and only 60% received two doses. Shooting for young children began in November; about 29% have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
More than 600 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in children ages 5 to 17 in the United States. Health officials have also expressed concern about the increased risk of lasting health problems in children after infection, such as diabetes or problems with smell or taste.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.