CDC panel recommends modern two-dose COVID vaccine for children ages 6 to 17

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects Moderna’s two-dose COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for public distribution this week for kindergartners through high schoolers, as the agency’s panel of independent vaccine experts agreed Thursday. Voted to recommend shots from

The committee endorsed Moderna’s vaccine for children aged 6 to 17 years after examining its safety and effectiveness during a public meeting. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky is expected to sign the recommendation later on Thursday, the final stage before pharmacies and doctor’s offices can begin administering the shots.

The CDC on Saturday endorsed Moderna’s vaccine for infants through preschoolers ages six months to five years. Vaccinations for that age group began this week.

Moderna’s shots for older children will not have an immediate impact on the US vaccination campaign, other than to provide parents with another option to choose from. Previously, only Pfizer’s vaccine was authorized for kindergartners through high school students, though there has been a lack of uptake. Two-thirds of children aged 5 to 11 years and 30% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the CDC, more than 600 children in those age groups have died of Covid during the pandemic and more than 45,000 have been hospitalized. Around 11 million children aged 5 to 17 have caught COVID during the pandemic.

Children 6 to 11 years old get the smaller 50 micrograms Modern Shot, while teens 12 to 17 years old will get the same dose as adults at 100 micrograms.

Moderna originally asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its vaccine for teens ages 12 to 17, but after other countries expressed concerns the regulator changed the company’s shots to heart inflammation, or May be associated with a higher risk of myocarditis. Compared to Pfizer’s vaccine.

There is no face-to-face comparison in the US for heart inflammation in children who got shots from Pfizer or Moderna because Moderna’s vaccine was only authorized for adults until this month. However, comparisons between Pfizer and Moderna shots in young adults suggest that rates of myocarditis are slightly higher in MODERN recipients, although the data are not consistent across different US surveillance systems.

Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, an official in the CDC Vaccine Safety Unit, told the committee: “Some evidence suggests that the risks of myocarditis and pericarditis may be higher after Moderna than Pfizer. However, the findings are not consistent across all US surveillance systems. “

Available US data on myocarditis in children 6 to 17 years of age is based on side effects reported from Pfizer’s vaccine because shots from Moderna have not yet been authorized for this age group. Shots from Pfizer and Moderna use similar messenger RNA technology.

The CDC has identified 635 cases of myocarditis in children aged 5 to 17 years after vaccination from 54 million doses of Pfizer. The risk of myocarditis after the Pfizer vaccination is highest in boys 12 to 17 years of age after the second shot. Myocarditis is slightly increased in boys aged 5 to 11 years after the second dose of Pfizer vaccine, although it is much lower than in adolescents.

According to CDC data, boys aged 16 to 17 reported 75 myocarditis cases per 1 million seconds per Pfizer, while boys aged 12 to 15 reported 46 myocarditis cases. Boys aged 5 to 11 years reported 2.6 myocarditis cases per million second Pfizer dose administered.

People who have had myocarditis after vaccination are usually hospitalized for a few days as a precaution before being sent home. The CDC has found that the risk of myocarditis is greater with COVID infection than by vaccination. Myocarditis in children is usually caused by a viral infection.

The most common side effects in children 6 to 17 years of age during clinical trials of Moderna were injection site pain, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle aches, and nausea. There were no confirmed cases of myocarditis during the trials.

It’s not clear how effective the shots will be compared to the Omicron version. The clinical trials were conducted during the period when other COVID strains were dominant. Shots for adolescents aged 12 to 17 years were about 90% effective in preventing disease from the original COVID strain and the alpha variant, while shots for children aged 6 to 11 years from the delta version were more than 76% effective in preventing disease. were more effective. Food and Drug Administration’s review of clinical trial data.

However, COVID vaccines have trouble fighting the omicron variant, which is now dominant, as it has so many mutations. The third shot produced a significant increase in protection in other age groups. Moderna is studying booster shots for children that target Omicron, with data expected later this summer.


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