NEW YORK — An expert panel backed a second COVID-19 vaccine option for kids ages 6 to 17 Thursday.
Advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted unanimously to recommend Moderna shots as an option for school-age kids and adolescents. This group has been able to get shots shots made by Pfizer since last year.
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The panel’s recommendations usually are adopted by the CDC, and become the government’s guidance for U.S. doctors and their patients.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the shots — full-strength doses for children ages 12 to 17 and half-strength for those 6 to 11. The doses are to be given about a month apart.
The FDA also authorized a third dose for kids with significantly weakened immune systems, to be given about a month after the second dose of the primary series. The CDC is expected to recommend the same thing.
Moderna officials have said they expect to later offer a booster to all kids ages 6 to 17.
How much demand there will be for the shots isn’t clear. Teens became eligible a year ago for Pfizer’s vaccine, which uses the same technology, and only 60% have gotten two doses. Shots for younger kids started in November; about 29% have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
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More than 600 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in kids ages 5 to 17 in the U.S. Health officials also have voiced concern about the increased risk of long-lasting health problems in children after infection, such as diabetes or problems with smell or taste.
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