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FDA clears Moderna, Pfizer vaccines for kids as young as 6 months

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized both Moderna's and Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use in kids as young as 6 months, bringing the U.S. one giant step closer to protecting its youngest citizens against the coronavirus.

The agency's decision arrived after a group of independent advisers voted unanimously on Wednesday to recommend the shots. Pfizer's three-dose regimen has now been authorized for use in children ages 6 months to 4 years old, while Moderna's two-dose regimen is now cleared for children ages 6 months to 5 years old. 

Before vaccinations can officially begin, however, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky must issue her own recommendation, which will likely happen following a vaccine advisory panel vote this weekend. The White House is expecting shots to begin as soon as Tuesday, CNBC reports. 

"As we have seen with older age groups," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf, "we expect that the vaccines for younger children will provide protection from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19, such as hospitalization and death."

The FDA also on Friday authorized Moderna's vaccine for kids ages 6 through 17; previously, only the shot from Pfizer-BioNTech was cleared for that age group.