The Food and Drug Administration has announced that it believes that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is effective in preventing coronavirus illness in children under the age of 5.
The FDA said the shot provides enough virus-blocking antibodies to protect children from the sickness, The Washington Post reported.
Experts from outside the agency are set to meet Wednesday to decide whether to authorize the use of not only Pfizer’s vaccination, but also that of Moderna for young children.
The FDA made a similar statement about Moderna’s vaccine for children under 6 last week, The Associated Press reported.
Some public health experts expect the FDA to approve both companies’ shots so parents have a choice in which vaccine their kids can get.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also have its own recommendations, but the final say sits with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
Children under the age of 5 are the only people in the U.S. who cannot yet be vaccinated against COVID-19.
If all agencies approve the move, children may be able to start getting vaccinated starting next week, the AP reported.
Pfizer will offer two shots, at about one-tenth the dose of an adult vaccine, about three weeks apart, followed by a booster at least two months later. Moderna’s vaccine is two shots separated by about four weeks, at a quarter of an adult dose.
Only about 3% of COVID cases in the U.S. are in children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years old, but hospitalization and death rates in the group are higher than in older children, according to the AP.
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