June 15, 2022 – The benefits to America’s youngest children from COVID-19 vaccines far outweigh the negatives, an outside group of FDA advisors said Wednesday.
The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted unanimously, 21-0, to recommend the use of Pfizer’s vaccines in kids 6 months through 4 years and and Moderna’s vaccine in those 6 months through 5 years of age. If FDA leaders follow the committee’s advice, and if the CDC follows suit, young children would be eligible for a 2-dose series of Moderna’s vaccine or a 3-dose series from Pfizer.
The FDA is not bound to follow the suggestions of its advisory committees, but it often does. Moderna and Pfizer are seeking to expand emergency use authorization for their vaccines. EUAs are special clearances used to allow use of products in connection with public health crises such as the pandemic.
The Pfizer vaccine has regular FDA approval for use in people 16 years of age and older. The FDA also has granted EUA clearances for use of the shot in people ages 5 to 15.
The panel on Tuesday recommended granting emergency authorization for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for ages 6-17 years. The Moderna vaccine already has regular approval for use in people 18 years of age and older.
A similar panel of CDC advisors meets Friday and Saturday and is expected to consider both companies’ requests for authorization.