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.
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"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.
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