The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) advisory committee unanimously recommended on Tuesday that the government approve Moderna Inc’s (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccination for children and adolescents aged 6 to 17.

In the United States, around 77 million individuals have gotten at least a two-dose course of Moderna’s vaccine, which has long been offered to those aged 18 and older.

The committee of outside specialists will meet on Wednesday to discuss the Moderna shot for infants under the age of six, as well as Pfizer’s (PFE.N) and BioNTech’s (22UAy.DE) COVID vaccination for children under the age of five, in both instances as early as six months.

The Moderna shots for 6- to 17-year-olds are unlikely to be in high demand right away. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved for children aged 5 to 11 in October, with clearance for teens coming months earlier.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only around 30% of children aged 5 to 11 and 60% of children aged 12 to 17 are completely vaccinated in the United States (CDC).

“I’d like to give parents as many choices as possible, and let them make the decisions about this for their children,” committee member and UC Berkeley professor Dr. Arthur Reingold stated during the meeting.

The FDA, which normally follows its advisors’ recommendations but is not required to do so, is expected to approve the Moderna vaccine for ages 6-17 shortly. The CDC must also recommend that the vaccination be used. A group of its advisors will convene on Friday and Saturday.

There have long been worries that the Moderna vaccine, which is administered at a greater dosage than the Pfizer/BioNTech injection, may induce myocarditis and pericarditis at a higher incidence, particularly in younger guys.

Some European nations have restricted the use of Moderna’s vaccination for younger age groups after monitoring revealed it was linked to an increased risk of heart inflammation, and the FDA postponed its assessment of the injection to analyze the risk of myocarditis.

At the meeting on Tuesday, US regulators presented data suggesting that Moderna’s vaccine may increase the risk of heart inflammation in young men, but they noted that the findings were inconsistent across various safety databases and were not statistically significant, implying that they could be due to chance.

Source: Reuters

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