FDA panel considers Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot for young children

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel will decide if they’ll recommend a dose of the shot to the age group under 12, then the decision moves on to the CDC.

Key federal health officials are scheduled to meet Tuesday to decide if a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to children 5- to 11-years-old. It’s a move that could see children receiving coronavirus vaccine shots as early as November. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee will begin discussions at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday. 

On Monday, drug maker Moderna said that a low dose of its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and appears to work in 6- to 11-year-olds, as the company moves closer to trying to expand shots to kids. 

As the Associated Press reported earlier, competitor Pfizer’s kid-sized vaccine doses seem to be moving closer to widespread use, now undergoing evaluation by the Food and Drug Administration for nearly the same age group — starting at age 5. Pfizer’s vaccine is already authorized for anyone 12 or older.

Once the FDA makes its recommendation to authorize the shot for ages 5 to 11, it will then move to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory group. That panel is scheduled to meet on Nov. 2 and 3, according to reports

Booster doses of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have already been authorized by U.S. officials, but there are still restrictions on who qualifies.

At about six months after the last Pfizer or Moderna vaccination, people are urged to get a booster if they are 65 or older, nursing home residents, or at least 50 and at increased risk of severe disease because of health problems. It is unclear what health officials will initially recommend after possibly approving the shots for ages under 12-years-old.

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