NEW YORK — An expert panel backed a second COVID-19 vaccine option for kids ages 6 to 17 Thursday.
Moderna shots were unanimously recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory board. Since last year, this group was able to receive shots shot by Pfizer.
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The panel’s recommendations usually are adopted by the CDC, and become the government’s guidance for U.S. doctors and their patients.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the shots — full-strength doses for children ages 12 to 17 and half-strength for those 6 to 11. They will be administered approximately one month apart.
A third dose was also approved by the FDA for children with severely weakened immune systems. It will be administered approximately one month following the first dose. It is likely that the CDC will recommend similar treatment.
Moderna officials stated that they plan to offer boosters to children ages 6-17 in the future.
How much demand there will be for the shots isn’t clear. Teens became eligible a year ago for Pfizer’s vaccine, which uses the same technology, and only 60% have gotten two doses. According to the CDC, shots for children younger than 12 years old began in November. Approximately 29% of them have received their full vaccine.
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Children aged 5-17 years old have died from COVID-19 in more than 600 cases. U.S. health officials expressed concern over the possibility of developing long-term problems such as diabetes, smell and taste problems.
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